The First Prosecutor On The Ahmaud Arbery Case Has Been Voted Out

Georgia district attorney Jackie Johnson lost by a huge margin.

An overwhelming margin voted out the Georgia district attorney Jackie Johnson on Nov. 3. 

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, independent Keith Higgins received 66 percent of the vote while Johnson received 34 percent. Johnson is currently under federal investigation for her handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case

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Johnson recused herself from the case due to a conflict of interest. Gregory McMichael, a suspect in Arbery’s killing, worked more than 20 years as an investigator with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District. 

Her missteps allegedly include assigning George E. Barnhill, who was later dismissed, as the second prosecutor in the case. In a letter, according to the New York Times, Barnhill claimed the McMichaels were in their rights to pursue “a burglary suspect,” and justified in using “deadly force to protect himself” under Georgia law. 

Back in early May, Wanda Jones-Cooper, Arbery’s mother, said she began researching Barnhill’s connection to the gunmen, “I learned that there was some relationships between the DA in Glynn County and Ware County. I did that just by going on the internet and looking on Facebook and finding that these people were actually friends. ... And then I found out his son was actually working at the DA there." 

Glynn County commissioners claimed that Johnson’s office told them not to make arrests—allegations the DA’s office deemed a “vicious lie.” 

Joyette M. Holmes, who is a Black woman, is now the DA presiding over the case.

Arbery, who was only 26 years old, was killed on Feb. 23 by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael. Arbery and Travis McMichael got into a scuffle in which they wrestled over McMichael’s gun, which discharged a fatal shot.
William Bryan followed them and recorded the incident. He is charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment charges. He also faces possible hate crime charges and is currently under investigation for sex crimes.

The McMichaels were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7, 73 days after Arbery was killed.

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