A former Georgia prosecutor was booked into jail on Wednesday for using her position to protect the father and son accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery last year.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, 49, who was charged with violating her oath of office and hindering a law enforcement officer, was released from jail after posting a $10,000 bond.
On Thursday, a Glynn County grand jury indicted Johnson, finding she instructed Glynn County police not to arrest Gregory McMichael’s 34-year-old son, Travis — who shot Arbery, 25, three times at close range in February 2020.
Gregory McMichael, 64, was an investigator for the Glynn County District Attorney’s office for 24 years until retiring in May 2019. Nine of those years were spent working for Johnson.
Though Johnson immediately recused herself from Arbery’s case due to the conflict of interest, on the day of the shooting she allegedly asked Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill to provide legal guidance to Glynn County police. After refusing herself, she purportedly recommended Barnhill to take the case — without disclosing their prior correspondence.
Attorney General Chris Carr said he did not know of Barnhill and Johnson’s conversations when he reassigned Arbery’s case to Barnhill.
When Carr reassigned the case, he was reportedly also unaware of Barnhill previously advising Glynn County police that the shooting appeared to be self-defense which had occurred during a citizen’s arrest.
Johnson lost her re-election bid last November, as she faced widespread criticism about how she handled Arbery’s case.
The McMichaels, along with William Bryan Jr., 50, are charged with malice and felony murder in Arbery’s shooting death. Bryan allegedly filmed the father and son fatally shooting Arbery as he jogged in Brunswick.
Gregory McMichael allegedly said that Arbery resembled a suspect in a series of recent burglaries in the Satilla Shores neighborhood. However, police said the only recent break-in was on January 1, 2020, when a 9mm pistol was reportedly stolen from an unlocked truck outside the McMichaels’ home.
Meanwhile, Bryan claimed he was solely a witness but authorities alleged he used his vehicle to confine and detain Arbery in the minutes leading up to his murder.
The three murder suspects remain jailed without bond. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on October 18.
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Featured image: Jackie Johnson/Glynn County Sheriff’s Office]