Explosive texts found on phone of suspect in Ahmaud Arbery murder case
Kevin Gough, William “Roddie” Bryan’s attorney, sat down with 48 Hours contributor and CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca for his first network interview to discuss the events leading up to Ahmaud Arbery's death.
According to Gough, Bryan was home on the day of the shooting and "was minding his own business" when he saw a truck he realized it was chasing a man he wasn't chasing. So he got into his own truck and began to follow as "any other patriotic American would have done under the same circumstances."
"Why did he record it?" Asked Villafranca. "Why not?" Gough answered.
It was Bryan using his cell phone to record the scorching video of Arbery being shot.
The interview is part of a brand new "48 hour" episode, "Justice for Ahmaud", which airs on Saturday, October 10th at 9/10. Airs on CBS.
On February 23, 2020, the day he was shot, Ahmaud Arbery was seen jogging in Satilla Shores, a waterfront neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, where Bryan along with the other two suspects in the case had a father and one Son named named Gregory and Travis McMichael.
Ahmaud Arbery can be seen in surveillance cameras on February 23, 2020. The video shows Arbery standing in a house under construction for a few minutes before jogging again that day. / Photo credit: Larry English
A surveillance camera showed Arbery paused for a few minutes in a house under construction before jogging again that day. Gregory McMichael later told authorities that he thought Arbery was a suspect in a number of break-ins in the neighborhood, even though there is no evidence that Arbery was involved.
Gregory and Travis McMichael told police they got armed, got into a pickup truck and tried to catch Arbery. And then Gough says Roddie Bryan decided to do it.
Gough insists that Bryan "was never more than a witness to this shootout".
The viral video tracking and shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia caught the nation's attention. / Photo credit: Roddie Bryan
But prosecutor Jesse Evans, who also spoke to "48 hours", disagrees and says, "We think he is an active participant." Evans claims Bryan was so active that Bryan tried to lock Arbery up with his truck. And authorities say Arbery's handprint near a dent on the truck suggests that Bryan actually hit Arbery with the vehicle. Gough denies that.
"The jury will look at the facts of this case and conclude that whether Ahmaud Arbery was white, black or Martian, Roddie Bryan would have acted no differently on the day in question," he said.
However, just two weeks ago, prosecutors told the court that they intended to produce evidence of previous racial slurs found on Roddie Bryan's phone. A warning that the language is graphic:
One text sent from Roddie Bryan's number on Martin Luther King Day earlier this year reads, "I bet you're really going to have a monkey parade there." And the racial slurs doesn't stop there, despite Gough saying the lyrics are being taken out of context.
"I have several pages of him that use the N-word. And doesn't that make him a racist?" Asked Villafranca. "No sir, said Gough." Do you use that word? "Villafranca asked later." I mean, you can use it on national television now, Kevin. When you think, 'Eh, it can be said - it can be used in a proper context.' "" It is not a word I would use, answered Gough. "But I'm not Roddie Bryan."
Bryan pleaded not guilty of criminal murder and the criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment on the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The McMichaels have not pleaded guilty to the crime of murder or aggravated assault.
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