Jun 4, 2020
Ahmaud Arbery Trial Transcript: June 4 Preliminary Hearings
A preliminary hearing in the Ahmaud Arbery case took place on June 4. William Bryan, who filmed the shooting, told investigators that a racial slur was used by Travis McMichael after the shooting. Read the trial transcript here.
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It’s been suggested to me that since this case is streaming live, that I make a statement about what we’re doing here today. I’d like to do that. The reason for the hearing, this is a preliminary hearing. It is not a trial of any of these defendants. The law requires that there be a preliminary hearing and that a determination be made of whether or not the case is sufficient, the felony case is sufficient to be heard by the Superior Court. If it is, the case, after hearing testimony, it will be determined whether or not it is sufficient to be [inaudible 00:00:53] over to the Superior Court, if not the case will be dismissed. So that’s what we’re doing here today. It’s not a trial. The case is all bound over to the Superior Court, that will be in trial later in the Superior Court.
As far as wearing masks are concerned, you saw me take mine off, when I wanted to talk. That’s what I would like for, maybe if the lawyers want to do that, to lower their masks while they talk, they can do that. My plans for the day is to take a break during the morning and to work through around 1:00 and see where we are in the case and either break for lunch or keep going if we think we can finish up. With that, I would like to call the calendar, again the announcement from the reporters.
The State of Georgia verses Travis James McMichael are being charged with felony murder and the aggravated assault, is the State ready to proceed?
Jesse Evans: (02:09)
The State is ready, Your Honor.
Is the defendant ready to proceed?
Jason Sheffield: (02:14)
Good morning, Your Honor, Jason Sheffield and Bob Rubin, on behalf of Travis McMichael, we’re ready to proceed. Thank you.
State of Georgia verses Gregory John McMichael, is the state to proceed?
Jesse Evans: (02:25)
The State is ready, Your Honor.
Franklin Hogue: (02:28)
Your Honor, Franklin Hogue and Laura Houge representing Gregory McMichael, He’s ready, but I have a motion to make if I may, at this point.
Jason Sheffield: (02:37)
If I can interrupt him, we don’t have our client apparent press yet.
Franklin Hogue: (02:41)
So my motion concern that too, not that they’re present here on this camera, I’d like to make a motion, Your honor, for Greg McMichael to be present physically in this courtroom with his lawyers. He can wear a mask, he can practice social distance, and in support of my motion to the court, right now I’d like to cite, first of all, the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, which grants Mr. McMichael the benefit of council and the right to confront those who are accusing him. The Georgia Constitution, Article One, section one, paragraphs 12 and 14, which under our Constitution gives him the similar right.
Franklin Hogue: (03:29)
And finally, I’d like to cite the emergency order by the Supreme Court of Georgia, which entered in March of this year and extended now through June 12, 2020 says, “To the extent feasible, courts should remain open to address the central functions and in particular courts should give priority to matters, necessary to protect health, safety and the liberty of individuals. Essential functions are subject to interpretation, however, some matters that fall into the essential function category are one, where an immediate liberty or safety concern is present, requiring the attention of the court, as soon as the court is available.”
Franklin Hogue: (04:19)
As the court just announced, this hearing does concern the liberty of Greg McMichael. If the court were to bind over the warrant or dismiss the warrants, either one, affects his liberty. So I move that Mr, McMichael, Greg McMichael be present here in court physically with his lawyers.
Jason Sheffield: (04:42)
I’m going to join that motion on behalf of Travis McMichael.
Right, the Supreme Court of Georgia also said, that any of video conferencing is desirable and to be used whenever feasible. That’s what we’re doing. The defendants are present in the jail house, they have access to you by phone, they will hear what’s going using their local [inaudible 00:05:14].
Franklin Hogue: (05:16)
Your Honor, they’re not actual present, yet even remotely, so I don’t know if my client heard anything that was just said on his behalf.
So what do you say, they’re not present?
Franklin Hogue: (05:28)
I don’t see him on the screen, it looks like I’m looking at an empty courtroom at the jail.
Okay, well can we some information about that [crosstalk 00:05:38].
Speaker 1: (05:33)
Your honor, if we could go challenge my client’s part of the case.
Right, what do you mean, your part of the case?
Speaker 1: (05:45)
McMichael’s lawyer announced that on behalf of my client, we are expressly, while I respect the Constitution in the cadence of what we’re doing here today, we are expressing on the record, waving my client’s appearance and presence in this proceedings in any capacity, it’s my understanding he’s not going to be brought here nor to brought in to appear on the video. We just want to make that clear, so avoid any misunderstanding at the jail, I don’t think there are, but we want to make that clear.
We’re determining, the Sherif is looking to see the jail. On my screen I don’t see them yet, so we’ll wait till we see them.
Franklin Hogue: (06:31)
When he is present there on the jail screen, I would like a moment to talk with him, to let him know what I’ve done for him to try to get him here. When I made that argument a moment ago, I did not realize-
You don’t need to tell him that, you can tell him that later.
Franklin Hogue: (06:50)
Well, he wanted to be here.
Well, he’s not going to be here, you can tell him that later why he’s not here.
Speaker 2: (06:50)
Your Honor, while we’re waiting for the defendants to brought to the court room, may we approach?
Yes. [crosstalk 00:07:41]. (silence).
We call the calendar, [inaudible 00:11:37] trial for the hearing, so the State of Georgia calls its first witness.
Jesse Evans: (11:44)
Judge, before I do that, if I can make some introductory remarks and comment on some of the things the court has done with your permission?
Speaker 1: (11:57)
I would also note that… sorry to interrupt you.
No you can’t interrupt him, sit down Mr. Counsel, thank you.
Speaker 1: (11:57)
Your honor I have a motion pending-
[crosstalk 00:12:00] you may argue that later. Go ahead.
Jesse Evans: (12:03)
Judge, this is, as you noted, State of Georgia vs Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William Rodney Bryan. I noted for our record, we need to make a record here, that we have two of the defendants who are seated in the courtroom, it would appear at the Glynn County Adult Detention Center. One of them is off camera at the request of defense counsel and with a waiver. We do have one witness from the State’s perspective that we intend to call in just a moment. We are here from the Cobb County District Attorney’s office on behalf of District Attorney Joyette Holmes seated behind us and we are representing the State of Georgia based on the Attorney General Chris Carr’s order that appointed us as the special prosecuting agency on the case. I wanted to make a record as to who we are and why we’re here.
Jesse Evans: (12:51)
I am Jesse Evans, and I am the Major Crimes Prosecutor for the Cobb County DA’s office. This is Linda [DeKoskie 00:12:57] who’s here with us today to handle this. As you noted, Judge, due to the statewide judicial emergency issued by the Supreme Court, we have followed the court’s guidance wore our masks into court today. We appreciate the fact that in order to make a record and for our court reporter to take things down, it might be necessary as we’re speaking to remove those masks temporarily, as I’ve done now. We appreciate the court understanding that’s sometimes required even despite the judicial emergency acts, that we can make a proper record in these proceedings that were requested by defense counsel and by the defendants in this case, not by the State.
Jesse Evans: (13:33)
We have come here today for the purpose of the probable cause hearing and this preliminary hearing we’re prepared to go forward, as the State said. They are essentially challenging the probable cause for the issuance of certain arrest warrants for the defendants, in this case. We have no objection to one of the defendants not being present virtually or in court due to request of counsel and the fact that they’ve expressly set a waiver here, but we acknowledge the fact that had they insisted on their presence, we could certainly have made accommodations so that he too could be remotely, for lack of a better term, Zoom’d in or Skyped in whatever this technological system is.
Jesse Evans: (14:14)
Today, though we’re acting as the special prosecution in the case, we’re here essentially on behalf of the citizens of Blaine County, to talk about the fatal shooting of the February 23rd incident involving victim Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased, hunted down and ultimately executed. We believe the evidence will show based on what’s about to be presented to the court. That’s our purpose for being here today.
Jesse Evans: (14:37)
I will tell the court that yesterday during a status conference involving the lawyers, there was one of the defense attorneys for the defendant Brian, that articulated some speculation as to how this court might rule on some things, which a little bit troubling from the State’s perspective, other than yesterday meeting face-to-face, that’s the first opportunity we had to meet you, Judge, and we appreciate the professionalism that you’ve shown us and the courtesy that you’ve shown us here in Glen County.
Jesse Evans: (15:04)
But I did want to at least state for the record, since the record was silent yesterday, that we were concerned about that articulation. We don’t know what the basis for that would be, but we’re certainly ready to go forward at this point. We believe this court to be a reasonable court by all of our dealings with you to date and we’re prepared to call our witness and defend our probable cause for the issuance of these arrest warrants here. But I wanted to make those prefatory remarks and also articulate for the public that may be watching why it is that there might be times that we do not have our masks on, and it is important in these criminal matters that we make records and that we have court reporters take those things down. Sometimes it’s easier to do that when the masks are temporarily removed. So I didn’t want to be silent on that point, in the face of the national and worldwide crisis that we’re dealing with this pandemic.
Jesse Evans: (15:59)
With that judge absent any other remarks from any other counsel at this point, we call Richard Dial from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to the witness stand.
Speaker 3: (16:25)
Raise your right hand, please. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but?
Richard Dial: (16:25)
Speaker 3: (16:25)
You may proceed.
Jesse Evans: (16:29)
All right. So thank you for removing your mask for purposes of making the record, but I’ll ask that you keep it handy, if there becomes a point in time where you’re no longer testifying and we may ask you to put that back on while you remain in the courtroom, understood?
Richard Dial: (16:39)
I do, yes sir.
Jesse Evans: (16:40)
To the degree you’re able, I want you to use the microphone beside you so that we can make a good reference so that everybody can hear you. First of all, if you will introduce yourself to the court and spell your first and last name for the benefit of our court reporter.
Richard Dial: (16:53)
Certainly, I’m Special Agent Richard Dial, R-I-C-H-A-R-D, Dial is D-I-A-L. I’m an Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assigned to the Kingsland Field Office, which covers Glynn County.
Jesse Evans: (17:07)
Have you been tasked with being the lead investigator on the investigation involving the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, from February, of 2020?
Richard Dial: (17:16)
Yes, sir. I am the case agent.
Jesse Evans: (17:18)
Before we get into the facts reporting your arrest warrants that were issued in this case, will you please articulate briefly a little bit about your background that allows you to serve as an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations?
Richard Dial: (17:32)
Certainly, I was hired as a narcotics agent with the Georgia Bureau Investigation in 2001, I was subsequently promoted into a special agent position. I have been with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that entire time, which is approximately 19 years. Throughout that time, approximately 17 years of that I’ve been assigned to the Region 14 Field Office where I’ve worked a variety of investigations.
Jesse Evans: (17:54)
In this particular case, you’re not the only agent working on the case from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, is that accurate?
Richard Dial: (17:59)
That’s correct. There was a team of agents assisting me in the investigation.
Jesse Evans: (18:03)
And as we sit here now, can you confirm for the record and for the benefit of the judge that while arrest warrants have been issued, there are certain aspects of the case that continue to be under investigation?
Richard Dial: (18:14)
That’s correct sir, it’s still an ongoing investigation.
Jesse Evans: (18:16)
I have copies of the arrest warrants in this particular case for the defendants, including the two McMichaels’, as well as Mr. Brian. Are you the affiliates who swore out those affidavits for arrest for these defendants?
Richard Dial: (18:29)
I am, yes.
Jesse Evans: (18:31)
If I am correct, the date of the offenses that we are here to discuss today are February the 23rd of 2020, is that correct?
Richard Dial: (18:39)
That is correct.
Jesse Evans: (18:40)
And just to get past these basic background information, before I open it up to you for the facts, will you confirm that you have arrest warrants charging Travis McMichael, with felony murder based on aggravated assault, as well as aggravated assault?
Richard Dial: (18:53)
I did. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (18:54)
Then can you also confirm that Greg McMichael was charged with felony murder based on being party to the crime of aggravated assault, as well as party to the crime of aggravated assault?
Richard Dial: (19:04)
Yes, that’s correct.
Jesse Evans: (19:05)
Then finally, the chronologically, the last warrant that was obtained by you and your agency is against William, sometimes referred to as Rodney Bryan, correct?
Richard Dial: (19:14)
Correct. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (19:16)
Those warrants charge him with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Is that correct?
Richard Dial: (19:21)
That is correct.
Jesse Evans: (19:22)
The location of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in this particular case, what is that essential cross section of the streets?
Richard Dial: (19:30)
It’s going to be Homes Road and Satilla Drive, that is in Brunswick, Georgia, in Glynn County.
Jesse Evans: (19:35)
Homes is H-O-L-M-E-S, correct?
Richard Dial: (19:37)
Jesse Evans: (19:38)
And Satilla, S-A-T-I-L-L-A, for the benefit of our court reporter?
Richard Dial: (19:41)
Yes, sir. That’s correct.
Jesse Evans: (19:43)
Can you confirm for me that, that is in Brunswick and in Glynn County, Georgia?
Richard Dial: (19:47)
Yes, sir. It is.
Jesse Evans: (19:48)
Today, you have a monitor in front of you, do you see two of the defendants present virtually?
Richard Dial: (19:53)
I do. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (19:55)
They have masks on, but do you recognize who those two are?
Richard Dial: (19:58)
I do. Travis McMichael is seated on the left in a striped shirt and Greg McMichael is in a jacket and tie seated on the right.
Jesse Evans: (20:08)
Okay. All right. I want to ask you some questions about when you got involved in the investigation.
Richard Dial: (20:13)
Jesse Evans: (20:14)
First of all, was the GBI asked to be involved with this case at the outset or did that come about later?
Richard Dial: (20:21)
No sir, so that came about later.
Jesse Evans: (20:23)
Can you briefly articulate for the benefit of the court and for our court reporter, how that is that you came to be involved in the investigation and why that was delayed somewhat?
Richard Dial: (20:34)
Certainly. This case was originally investigated by the Glynn County Police Department, subsequent to that the District Attorney recused themselves for this circuit. Another District Attorney was assigned and that District Attorney recused himself and it was assigned to a third District Attorney. My agency on May 5th, 2020, contacted that District Attorney, offered our assistance.
Richard Dial: (20:57)
The District Attorney was Tom Durden And we offered our assistance. He availed himself of our assistance and requested us to become involved in the investigation. And then on May 6th, 2020, I was contacted and assigned the investigation.
Jesse Evans: (21:09)
All right. You’ve had an opportunity now to review the Glynn County’s initial response to the shooting, correct?
Richard Dial: (21:16)
I did, yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (21:16)
I assume you’ve talked to witnesses and had your agents talk to witnesses in support of that arrest warrants that you obtained in this particular case?
Richard Dial: (21:25)
Jesse Evans: (21:26)
Briefly, I want to talk about the deceased victim in this case. Will you tell the court what his name was and a little bit about his background?
Richard Dial: (21:33)
Certainly. His name was Ahmaud Arbery, he was 25 years of age. He was a resident here in Brunswick, Georgia. He lived at 140 Boykin Ridge Drive at the time of his death with his mother. He was involved in athletics, liked to play games outside. He liked to run, liked to play video games.
Jesse Evans: (21:54)
As part of your investigation of this case, were you able to determine the approximate distance from Ahmaud Arbery’s home to the place where he was fatally shot on Satilla and Homes?
Richard Dial: (22:10)
Well, yes. I actually took a driving measurement from his residence to where the house under the construction was located, which is at play in this investigation. That’s located at 220 Satilla Drive and it was approximately 1.8 miles. The scene of the shooting is a little further down the road, approximately two and a half miles would be my estimate.
Jesse Evans: (22:33)
I want to ask you some more background information now about the defendants in this case and we’ll start with Travis McMichael. Travis McMichael, were you able to determine what his age was?
Richard Dial: (22:45)
I was, yes, Travis McMichael, he’s 34 years of age. He resided with his father, his mother and his sister at 230 Satilla Drive, in Brunswick, Georgia.
Jesse Evans: (22:57)
Did he have some prior training in the Coast Guard?
Richard Dial: (23:00)
Yes. He served in the Coast Guard as a-
Jesse Evans: (23:03)
Richard Dial: (23:03)
Yes. He served in the coast guard as a boarding officer who was involved with the interdiction of vessels. He had training reference to that, and that’s a position that he held.
Jesse Evans: (23:11)
You had mentioned that he lived on Satilla Drive with his father. What is his father’s name, please?
Richard Dial: (23:17)
His father’s name is Greg McMichael.
Jesse Evans: (23:19)
How old was he at the time of the commission of these crimes?
Richard Dial: (23:23)
Sixty four years of age.
Jesse Evans: (23:25)
And did they live together?
Richard Dial: (23:26)
Jesse Evans: (23:28)
Can you tell the court a little bit about the background of Greg McMichael, the father in this case?
Richard Dial: (23:34)
Yes, Greg McMichael is a retired investigator with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. He served in that position for a number of years. Prior to that, he served as an officer with Glynn County Police Department. He also served as an officer with the Brunswick Police Department and with the Department of Natural Resources for a short time.
Jesse Evans: (23:51)
I want to ask you, was he an officer for some period of time with the same agency that was initially called upon to investigate the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery?
Richard Dial: (24:02)
Yes, he was. He was an investigator for a number of years with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, and actually retired as an investigator from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, which was one of the reasons for their recusal of themselves from the case.
Jesse Evans: (24:13)
And specifically, did he at some point in his background also work for Glynn County Police Department?
Richard Dial: (24:18)
He did. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (24:26)
I want to turn our attention now to the third defendant, William ” Roddie” Bryan, and ask you a little bit about his background. Can you articulate for the court where he lived and a little bit about his age and his background?
Richard Dial: (24:39)
Certainly. William Bryan, he resided at 307 Buford Road, which is in the same housing area, the same neighborhood, as Satilla Drive. He’s 50 years of age. He was employed as a small engine mechanic at the time of this incident.
Jesse Evans: (24:59)
Before I turn our attention to the actual date of the crimes and your arrest warrant, I want to talk about the Satilla Shores neighborhood. Are you familiar with it?
Richard Dial: (25:08)
I am. Yes sir.
Jesse Evans: (25:09)
And you had already mentioned on your direct examination previously, reference to a home that was under construction. Can you please explain to the court the significance of that home and where it was located?
Richard Dial: (25:22)
Yes. That residence is at 220 Satilla Drive. It belonged to a gentleman by the name of Larry English. It was a home under construction. I believe Greg McMichael in one of the interviews refers to it as a shell of a house. He was in the process of constructing this home. As you go into Satilla Shores neighborhood, you go down a short way and it’s on the right, it’s as you come in. This home is important in this investigation because the deceased victim of this investigation, Ahmaud Arbery, had been seen inside that home on security camera footage prior to the shooting incident. And on the day of the shooting incident, the neighbor had seen him inside of the home that’s under construction and had called 911 prior to the rest of the events taking place.
Jesse Evans: (26:08)
Focusing now on that home, you said that the home was under construction. Was it secured or unsecured at the time of the shooting?
Richard Dial: (26:15)
Jesse Evans: (26:17)
And when I say unsecured, describe for the court it’s state.
Richard Dial: (26:23)
The upper walls of the house and the windows were in the house. There are no interior walls, it’s studs. We had this from the security camera footage that shows the interior of the residence. There was no garage, or does not appear to be there was any garage doors on the house, which is actually attached to the house. From the video we have you couldn’t tell if it had a front door or not, but it’s very obvious that individuals were able to walk through there without being impeded in any way.
Jesse Evans: (26:48)
In fact, have you found as part of your investigation, other videos showing other people that walked through this unsecure residence at different times?
Richard Dial: (26:56)
Yes, sir. Besides Ahmaud Arbery, we have discovered video of at least two other groups of people that have been inside the residence during its construction.
Jesse Evans: (27:07)
Was anyone living at that house at the time of this crime?
Richard Dial: (27:11)
No. It was going to be a vacation house that was under construction. There was a small trailer in the backyard, which was secured, for when the owner who resides in another county would work on the house, he’d have a place to stay, but it’s been under construction for quite a while.
Jesse Evans: (27:28)
Okay. And to your knowledge, was anything ever taken from this house based on the video footage that you’ve seen?
Richard Dial: (27:36)
No. I think there were some kids in there that I believe it took a couple pieces of wood from the house, but that was on video. But other than that, no, there’s nothing I saw on the video, nor that Mr. English has told us during the interviews he can say was taken from the house.
Jesse Evans: (27:52)
And has the owner been interviewed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations?
Richard Dial: (27:56)
Yes. He’s been interviewed at least two separate times by two different agents in reference to this case.
Jesse Evans: (28:00)
You had mentioned that Mr. Arbery was an avid runner. Is that accurate?
Richard Dial: (28:04)
Jesse Evans: (28:05)
And have you talked to multiple people, you and your agency, who confirmed that running was one of the things that he did for- [crosstalk 00:28:11].
Richard Dial: (28:10)
Yes. Very much.
Jesse Evans: (28:12)
For helping, for just his mental state?
Richard Dial: (28:14)
Yes, sir. He just enjoyed running is what we’re getting from numerous witnesses and the family, friends of his.
Jesse Evans: (28:19)
In conversations with the homeowner of this house under construction, was there ever any discussion with him about water sources that might be there if somebody wanted to get a drink of water, say during a run?
Richard Dial: (28:31)
I’m aware that the homeowner, Larry English, or through his attorney has made statements concerning their speculation that there are water sources at the house, and that could be a reason for Mr. Arbery’s entering the house. That is not captured on video, but I am aware that statements that they have made.
Jesse Evans: (28:47)
On the date in question, now turning to February 23rd of 2020, you had talked about video. Is there multiple sources of video surveillance that’s been reviewed from the Satilla Shores neighborhood from which we were able to piece together a timeline of what happened?
Richard Dial: (29:03)
Yes, sir. That’s correct.
Jesse Evans: (29:05)
Different locations, not just this house that you referenced.
Richard Dial: (29:08)
Yeah. There’s different locations, neighbors and other sources of video we have that help show the events that occurred.
Jesse Evans: (29:16)
All right. I now want to direct your attention to specifically February the 23rd of 2020, the date that is the subject of your arrest warrant for the three defendants in this case. Were you able, looking at all of the evidence and speaking to all of the witnesses, to piece together a chronology of how Ahmaud Arbery came to be shot at Satilla Shores?
Richard Dial: (29:41)
Yes, sir, I have.
Jesse Evans: (29:42)
Would you briefly and succinctly articulate for the court what it is that you were able to piece together from your investigation in this case?
Richard Dial: (29:49)
Certainly. From the surveillance video, across the street from the house that’s under construction, you see Mr. Arbery coming up to the house, going directly into the house. From the interior video of the house, you see him just wandering around, again, not taking anything. It just, he’s just walking around, looking around inside the under construction building. The neighbor across the street, Mr. Albanez, you can see him on the video coming forward, we did our interview with him, he saw Mr. Arbery going in the house, so he calls 911. At that point, the call is dispatched. And then during the call, it’s actually logged as somebody’s in an open construction site. So Mr. Albanez sees him in there, from the video, you can tell that Mr. Arbery comes out of the residence and goes running down the street.
Richard Dial: (30:39)
From the interviews conducted by Glynn County PD, and you can actually see it on the video, Mr. Greg McMichael was in his front yard. You don’t see him, but you see, he says, he’s in the front yard working on some cushions for his boat, when he sees Mr. Arbery running down the street. In his interview with Glynn County PD, he says that he didn’t know if Arbery was chasing somebody or somebody was chasing him, but he recognized Arbery from previous video he had seen from February 11th of somebody that was inside this house that’s under construction.
Jesse Evans: (31:14)
I want to talk about that previous video, since you’ve broached that topic. Did Satilla Shores have a Facebook page during which residents were talking about that property and other things?
Richard Dial: (31:24)
Yes. Yes they did.
Jesse Evans: (31:25)
Did you find any discussions about the fact that somebody may have been in that residence previous to this?
Richard Dial: (31:32)
Yes. There was some discussion about it on the Facebook page, as well as on the February 11th report that was filed by the officer who responded. The person in there, he makes note that the person’s information was on that Facebook page.
Jesse Evans: (31:45)
And now getting back to the chronology of February the 23rd of 2020, articulate for the court what your investigation revealed in terms of Mr. Arbery running past the McMichael’s household.
Richard Dial: (31:58)
Okay. Mr. Arbery proceeds past the household, he’s running down Satilla Drive, south. Greg McMichael goes inside, according to his statement and Travis McMichael’s statement, tells Travis McMichael that the guy is running down the road. They both grab their weapons. Greg McMichael arms himself with the Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum revolver. Travis McMichael arms himself with a Remington 870 pump 12-gauge shotgun. They then enter Travis McMichael’s truck, Travis McMichael is driving, Greg McMichael is in the passenger seat. This is according to both their statements. Then, on the video, you see them come out of the driveway and turn in the direction that Ahmaud Arbery was running.
Jesse Evans: (32:42)
I want to pause there at this point. You had mentioned a previous 911 call involving the residence that was under construction, correct?
Richard Dial: (32:49)
Jesse Evans: (32:51)
Were either of the McMichaels the 911 caller for that initial call about the structure?
Richard Dial: (32:57)
No. The person that called was Matt Albany, neither Travis or Greg and McMichael has called 911 at that point.
Jesse Evans: (33:05)
And that’s what I want to be clear on. So my follow up question to you is, when the defendants, the McMichaels armed themselves with this revolver and shotgun, did they make a 911 call before going after Mr. Arbery?
Richard Dial: (33:17)
No, sir. They did not.
Jesse Evans: (33:20)
So there’s no 911 call initially by them as they gave chase?
Richard Dial: (33:24)
Jesse Evans: (33:28)
Can you describe the vehicle that the McMichaels were in?
Richard Dial: (33:32)
Yes, they were in a white Ford F150 2019 model that belonged to Travis McMichael.
Jesse Evans: (33:39)
Per statements of the defendant and video that you reviewed, can you articulate for the court whether there was any time in which the McMichaels were able to catch up to the deceased victim in this case?
Richard Dial: (33:50)
Yes. According to both their statements, and we have video of them, they caught up with Ahmaud Arbery as he was running. He actually runs down Satilla Drive. Satilla Drive takes a turn, but if you continue straight, it turns into Buford, which is the street where Mr. Bryan resides. They catch up to him, according to Travis and Greg and McMichael, they’re giving commands to Ahmaud Arbery to stop. This is captured, when this was going on, Mr. Bryan is outside of his residence, and he has a surveillance video camera that captures this, shooting down his driveway.
Richard Dial: (34:29)
So you see Travis McMichael’s truck and Ahmaud Arbery in his driveway, and according to Mr. Bryan’s statement as well, he sees them trying to pursue Ahmaud Arbery. In the video, you actually see Ahmaud Arbery trying to get away. He’s running backwards, the truck moved backwards, and he’s moving forward. He’s trying to escape at that point in the video.
Richard Dial: (34:52)
According to Mr. Bryan’s statement, he does not know Travis McMichael. He has met Greg McMichael, but he didn’t recognize Greg McMichael, at that time, because Greg McMichael was in the passenger seat of the truck. But he recognized the truck as a truck that’s in the neighborhood. So then he yells, “Do you got him.”
Jesse Evans: (35:11)
When you say, “He yells, ‘Do you got him?’ ” Who are you referring to?
Richard Dial: (35:14)
Bryan is yelling to the person in the truck who he doesn’t know. He doesn’t get a response. Mr. Bryan, according to his statement, then goes into his residence, gets the keys to his truck, comes out and cranks up his truck with the intention of assisting in the pursuit.
Jesse Evans: (35:31)
So at that point, Roddie Bryan makes the decision to enter his residence, correct?
Richard Dial: (35:35)
Jesse Evans: (35:35)
Get his keys.
Richard Dial: (35:36)
Jesse Evans: (35:37)
And then what kind of vehicle does he get in to join the pursuit of Mr. Arbery, the deceased victim?
Richard Dial: (35:42)
He is in a 2018 Chevy Silverado, gray in color.
Jesse Evans: (35:47)
At this point in time, based on our best evidence has any 911 call been placed by either the McMichaels or the Bryan?
Richard Dial: (35:53)
No. None have.
Jesse Evans: (35:54)
Can you describe as best you’re able, I know this is a convoluted situation, we’re going to get to a map in a second, but describe for the purpose of our record, the best you’re able, the sequence of events thereafter as these two pickup trucks in Satilla Shores are chasing Mr. Arbery.
Richard Dial: (36:13)
Yes. Mr. Arbery continued heading down Buford Road away from Satilla Drive. Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael are following him. Again, Mr. Bryan is in getting his keys and getting his vehicle cranked. At one point, Mr. Arbery turns and goes back the way he was running, in an attempt to avoid the McMichaels. Greg McMichael, who had been riding in the passenger seat of Travis McMichael’s truck, he’s actually sitting on a child’s car seat during this, at this point. He exits the vehicle with the intention of confronting Mr. Arbery. Mr. Arbery is running back down the road at this point.
Richard Dial: (36:55)
According to Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael’s statement, Greg McMichael comes back to Travis McMichael’s truck and tells him, you know, “Go back,” you know, “Back up, back up,” you know, trying to encourage Travis McMichael to back the vehicle up and engage Mr. Arbery. At this time, Mr. Bryan, he is coming out of his driveway, his vehicle was actually backed in his driveway, so the front of his vehicle is facing the front of his driveway. So when he pulls out on the road, he sees Mr. Arbery coming, and he pulls his vehicle out in an attempt to block Mr. Arbery in. That’s according to his statement, as well as Travis McMichael’s statement. At that point, Travis McMichael makes a decision, he tells Greg McMichael, “No, jump in.” And his decision is to circle around Buford Road, because it circles around and actually becomes another road, Zellwood. But it circles around, and his intention is to get and cut off Mr. Arbery, where Holmes Road cuts into Satilla Drive, and it’s kind of, it’s almost like a loop, and cut him off from that way, if that makes sense.
Richard Dial: (37:56)
So Greg McMichael hops into the back bed of the truck because of the car seat situation. And they then go and start circling around the block, pretty much, to cut him off. At this time, like I said, Mr. Bryan has pulled his vehicle, blocking the road, trying to block Mr. Arbery, and Mr. Arbery goes around his bumper, his truck. According to Mr. Bryan’s statement, he then pulls down the road and makes several more attempts to try to block in Ahmaud Arbery, trying to detain him.
Jesse Evans: (38:25)
I’m going to ask you a couple of questions before we leave this point. At this point, have the two trucks separated from each other?
Richard Dial: (38:30)
Yes, sir, they have.
Jesse Evans: (38:31)
And you had mentioned Mr. Bryan’s statement to you all. Did he talk about his attempts to sort of run Mr. Arbery off the road or push him off the road using his vehicle?
Richard Dial: (38:42)
Yes. He made several statements about trying to block him in and using his vehicle to try to stop him. His statement was that Mr. Arbery kept jumping out of the way and moving around the bumper and actually running down into the ditch in an attempt to avoid his truck.
Jesse Evans: (38:57)
At various points during this chronology that you articulated for the court and our record, based on the evidence you’ve seen, including some video footage, were you able to determine that using these two pickup trucks during the whole event, Mr. Arbery’s path of travel was essentially redirected by the actions of the defendants?
Richard Dial: (39:17)
Yes, sir. Very much. So Mr. Arbery gets a… if I can explain?
Jesse Evans: (39:23)
Richard Dial: (39:24)
If that’s okay? Mr. Arbery goes around Mr. Bryan’s truck as he’s pulling out. At this point, Mr. Arbery is heading back the way he’s come, which would lead him out of the Satilla Shores neighborhood. Mr. Bryan makes statements that he continues to try to block in Mr. Arbery. Mr. Arbery takes a right turn on to Holmes Road, and Mr. Bryan is actually overeshoots him going Satilla. So at this point, Mr. Arbery’s trying to avoid Mr. Bryan, and he turns down Holmes Road, which is actually going sideways back into the neighborhood instead of out, which is the way he was traveling. Mr. Bryan, then remaneuvers his vehicle and pursues Mr. Arbery down Holmes Road.
Jesse Evans: (40:06)
I want to be clear on that point. As you go down Holmes Road, had Mr. Arbery been allowed to finish that type of travel? Was there any direction that could be made to get back to the exit of that neighborhood?
Richard Dial: (40:19)
Yes. If he went down to Holmes Road, he could have caught Zellwood and then gone back up again to Satilla Drive and gone back out Satilla Shores. So pretty much, he could’ve gone straight, but he cut and would of had to circle back around, but he could have still escaped the neighborhood at that point.
Jesse Evans: (40:33)
At some point in time, I know that a video was started by Mr. Bryan, is that accurate?
Richard Dial: (40:39)
That is. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (40:40)
And he’s confirmed as much. And we have copies of that video from his cell phone, correct?
Richard Dial: (40:44)
That’s correct. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (40:45)
There’s been portions of that video that have been played widely on television, but there’s actually other portions to that video as well, correct?
Richard Dial: (40:53)
That is correct.
Jesse Evans: (40:54)
Can you please articulate for the court what you were able to see and confirm with Mr. Bryan about what he did as Mr. Arbery was heading down Holmes Road away from Mr. Bryan’s vehicle?
Richard Dial: (41:07)
So Mr. Bryan’s pursuing Mr. Arbery down Holmes Road, again, with the intention of trying to catch up to him and block him in. At this point, while going down Holmes Road, Mr. Bryan turns on his cell phone camera and begins to try to videotape Mr. Arbery. Mr. Arbery stops. Now at this time, the McMichaels have turned off of Zellwood and are coming down from Holmes Road. So you’ve got one vehicle coming one way down Holmes Road in another vehicle coming the other way, and Mr. Arbery is in between. So at some point, Mr. Arbery turns around and starts heading back towards Mr. Bryan. Based upon his statement, it appears that Mr. McMichael is coming, Mr. Arbery’s running, sees Mr. McMichael’s truck, and then turns around and runs back by Mr. Bryan’s truck.
Richard Dial: (41:55)
Mr. Bryan gets out of the way as Arbery runs past him, and then he sees the McMichaels come forward. Now, at this point in the video, Mr. Bryan has put the video down. So you don’t have video of this sequence of events. But this is according to Mr. Bryan’s statement that Arbery runs past his truck, then the Bryan’s come past, I’m sorry. Then the McMichaels come past his truck. Then Mr. Bryan pulls out, and again goes back down in the direction that Mr. Arbery had traveled.
Jesse Evans: (42:25)
Before we leave this topic here, was any of this captured on the video before the phone was put down? Could you actually see Mr. Arbery trying to evade the truck?
Richard Dial: (42:36)
Yes, sir. You can.
Jesse Evans: (42:37)
Okay. And did you see him turn around and try to get away from the truck before it turned around? I’m referring, obviously, to Mr. Bryan’s truck.
Richard Dial: (42:45)
Jesse Evans: (42:46)
And I know that you just said that the video was put down at some point and you couldn’t see, but were you able to capture any audio?
Richard Dial: (42:54)
Yes. You can hear the different gears changing in the engine, moving in the vehicle. Yes.
Jesse Evans: (43:00)
All right. And then along this lines as well, during the portions of the interview where Mr. Bryan was interviewed both by Glynn County Police Department and members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, did he make any admissions to you that his vehicle had any contact with the deceased victim? And any damage as a result there from ?
Richard Dial: (43:19)
Yes. He indicated at one point that his vehicle had contact with the victim. His impression was that the Mr. Arbery had been trying to open the driver’s side door, but had not got to the driver’s side door. He made that statement, initially. The Glynn County Police Department that day actually photograph the truck, you can see some palm prints, appear to be swipes, on the rear driver’s side door. His truck is a four-door truck, your honor. So there’s some swipe marks and palm prints there. There is also white, cotton fibers along the truck bed where the bed liner lips over the bed of the truck, there’s a little bit of plastic of that bed liner, there is white, cotton fibers along it, which Mr. Arbery during this pursuit and incident was wearing a white cotton shirt. There was also a dent directly below those white, cotton fibers. And that then we attributed to contact with Mr. Arbery because of its location.
Jesse Evans: (44:25)
Did Mr. Bryan confirmed during his interviews that the dent was actually as a result of the vehicle making contact with him?
Richard Dial: (44:33)
I believe that that was his surmise.
Jesse Evans: (44:35)
Richard Dial: (44:35)
I’m not a hundred percent sure on that.
Jesse Evans: (44:39)
Turning now to the situation that we have involving the two pickup trucks, after Mr. Bryan turned around, can you confirm that both pickup trucks were essentially facing the same direction on Holmes?
Richard Dial: (44:51)
Yes, they were. Both, it was Mr. Arbery running back down Holmes Road, toward Satilla Drive, Travis McMichael driving his truck directly behind Mr. Arbery, And then there was Mr. Bryan behind Travis McMichael’s truck. At some point, Travis McMichael’s truck gets ahead of Mr. Arbery.
Jesse Evans: (45:12)
What happens when the McMichaels’ his truck gets ahead of the victim?
Richard Dial: (45:19)
Their vehicle gets ahead of Mr. Arbery, then they stop their vehicle. And this is almost at the intersection Satilla Drive and Holmes Road. They stop.
Jesse Evans: (45:27)
Is this a public roadway?
Richard Dial: (45:28)
Jesse Evans: (45:30)
Where is Mr. Bryan’s vehicle located during this portion of the chase?
Richard Dial: (45:34)
Mr. Bryan’s vehicle is behind Mr. Arbery. Mr. Arbery, at this point, is between Travis McMichael’s vehicle and Mr. Bryan’s vehicle.
Jesse Evans: (45:44)
Is Mr. Bryan able to video any portion of what happens next?
Richard Dial: (45:48)
Jesse Evans: (45:49)
Have you reviewed that video and do you have it?
Richard Dial: (45:51)
I do. And I have.
Jesse Evans: (45:52)
Can you please describe the chronology of events after the McMichaels parked with their vehicle in the middle of this public roadway as Mr. Arbery approached the back of that vehicle?
Jesse Evans: (46:02)
As Mr. Arbery approached the back of that vehicle.
Richard Dial: (46:04)
Yes I can. Mr. Bryan began, picks up the phone, has been videotaping the whole time and holds it up so you have a view. You see Mr. Arbery running down Holmes Road going towards Satilla drive. You see Travis McMichael’s truck is parked in the road. Travis McMichael, the driver’s side door is open, Travis McMichael is there. It is apparent to me he is holding a firearm. His arm is raised as it’s in a pointed position. At one point, then Travis, I’m sorry, then Mr. Arbery is running. He then apparently see what, Travis McMichael, in front of him. Then he changes direction to go around the passenger side of the vehicle.
Jesse Evans: (46:47)
Rather than going to the driver’s side, where you had seen Travis McMichael with a shotgun. He’s now going to the opposite side of that truck that’s parked in this public roadway.
Richard Dial: (46:55)
That’s correct, he’s going around the truck.
Jesse Evans: (46:58)
What happened after that?
Richard Dial: (46:59)
Travis McMichael then moved from the driver’s side, where he’s actually standing when you opened the driver’s side door, the doors at his back initially in the video and he’s got the shotgun. He then positions himself around the driver’s side door, towards the front of the truck. You see Mr. Arbery running alongside the passenger side. And again, you see [inaudible 00:47:18] himself along the front of the truck. Mr. Arbery then comes up to positions, sees Travis McMichael, then makes the decision and turns and decides to engage Travis McMichael.
Jesse Evans: (47:28)
What happens after that?
Richard Dial: (47:31)
As he turns and goes towards [inaudible 00:47:32], you hear a shot. Then you see Travis McMichael moving backwards with Mr. Arbery. Obviously, they were engaged in a physical confrontation at this point.
Richard Dial: (47:45)
They go off the screen. You then hear a second shot where you see blood and spray into the screen, the mist of it. Then they come back in to the view of the camera. There, Mr. Arbery is striking Travis McMichael, there’s a struggle going on. And then you see a third shot occur, the firearm being lowered down like that we see. After the third shot, you then see Mr. Arbery get past Travis McMichael and continue running down Holmes, almost right there at the intersection and then he falls.
Jesse Evans: (48:27)
You articulated three separate gunshots here, correct?
Richard Dial: (48:31)
Jesse Evans: (48:31)
Where was Greg McMichael at the time that this was going on?
Richard Dial: (48:35)
Greg McMichael was in the back of the pickup truck when the situation began, he was on the phone.
Jesse Evans: (48:41)
At this point, have they finally called 9-1-1?
Richard Dial: (48:44)
They have, yes.
Jesse Evans: (48:45)
And was he armed at that time?
Richard Dial: (48:47)
He was. As the confrontation began, he drops the phone or puts the phone down and then pulls his weapon. And he has his weapon during the parts of the confrontation occurred.
Jesse Evans: (49:01)
When you talk about his weapon, are you referring to the 357 revolver that you had articulated earlier during this hearing?
Richard Dial: (49:07)
Jesse Evans: (49:08)
And of note, can you tell the court and make a record about any significance about that weapon, as even mentioned by Greg McMichael in terms of where he got him?
Richard Dial: (49:20)
Yes, that was the same 686 Smith and Wesson 37 Magnum revolver that he carried when he was an officer with the Glenn County Police Department and it was stamped Glenn County, GCPD.
Jesse Evans: (49:31)
Did he articulate that he was a former law enforcement officer to Glen County Police Officers when they arrived, and is that captured on body cam video?
Richard Dial: (49:39)
It is, he said it several times.
Jesse Evans: (49:41)
And did he mention also several times that that was a gun that would have been issued by Glenn County Police Department?
Richard Dial: (49:47)
Jesse Evans: (49:48)
You mentioned three gunshot wounds in this particular case. Can you articulate for the court and the benefit of our record, where those gunshot wounds were to Mr. Arbery’s body?
Richard Dial: (49:58)
I can. Mr. Arbery suffered a gunshot wound to the center of the chest. He also suffered a gunshot wound to the upper left chest around the armpit area here. Again, from the front to the back. He then suffered a shotgun wound to his right wrist.
Jesse Evans: (50:22)
I want to talk about other things that were collected by Glenn County Police Department, and, again, this was not your crime scene and that you were asked to participate in this investigation later, correct?
Richard Dial: (50:33)
Jesse Evans: (50:34)
You’re aware though that certain items of evidence of significance were collected in this case by Glenn County Police Department?
Richard Dial: (50:40)
I am, yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (50:41)
How about the firearm?
Richard Dial: (50:43)
Yes. Well, Travis McMichael’s fire arm was collected by the Glenn County Police Department.
Jesse Evans: (50:47)
And how many spent shell cases do we have from that shotgun?
Richard Dial: (50:52)
Jesse Evans: (50:54)
Two of them were expelled. Is that accurate?
Richard Dial: (50:56)
That is correct.
Jesse Evans: (50:56)
What about the third one? Where did that remain?
Richard Dial: (50:58)
It was still within the chamber of the weapon.
Jesse Evans: (51:00)
And give a description briefly for the benefit of the court and the record about what type of firearm that was, that was used to shoot Mr. Arbery.
Richard Dial: (51:09)
The 870, Remmington 870 12 gauge shotgun is a pump action shotgun. Meaning that to, once a shot is fired, the front forearm of the weapon has to be operated to eject the spent shell and then the forearm has to be operated again to load a new live round in.
Jesse Evans: (51:38)
During Travis McMichael’s interview with police, did he make any admissions about firing the fatal gunshots in this particular case?
Richard Dial: (51:46)
He did. He admitted firing the weapon three times.
Jesse Evans: (51:50)
And the first shot that he articulated, where did he indicate to the police that that shot landed?
Richard Dial: (51:56)
The chest, Mr. Arbery’s chest.
Jesse Evans: (51:58)
So the first shot that Mr. Travis McMichael said that was inflicted on Mr. Arbery was one of the chest wounds that you had articulated here, correct?
Richard Dial: (52:07)
That is correct.
Jesse Evans: (52:08)
And is there video evidence that you saw that tends to corroborate based on your observation that that is an accurate statement that the chest wounds was, or least one of the chest wounds, was the first shot that was fired at the deceased victim Mr. Arbery?
Richard Dial: (52:25)
Yes, sir, there is.
Jesse Evans: (52:26)
Can you articulate for the court how that is that you’re able to see that?
Richard Dial: (52:29)
After the first shot, again, you see a struggle between Travis McMichael and Mr. Arbery. During that struggle, Mr. Arbery, while he was wearing a white shirt during this incident, during that struggle, you see the front of his shirt is saturated with blood.
Jesse Evans: (52:44)
He’s already saturated blood before the struggle that you can see on the video?
Richard Dial: (52:49)
Well that’s correct, during the struggle is mere seconds after the first shot, his front of his shirt is saturated with blood.
Jesse Evans: (52:56)
Okay. Because this is somewhat of a complicated situation, just doing it orally, do you think it would be a benefit to the court and this judge who’s the finder of fact to use a map to describe the sequence of events is we’re able to piece it together based on interviews and video that you’ve reviewed?
Richard Dial: (53:13)
I do, yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (53:14)
Speaker 8: (53:44)
Correct, Your Honor.
Jesse Evans: (53:44)
Speaker 8: (53:46)
Speaker 9: (53:49)
I don’t know any of that, [inaudible 00:53:50] move along.
Jesse Evans: (53:51)
So for our purposes today, I will tender this blow up as a demonstrative aid as state’s exhibit number one, we have a smaller version here in court that’s very similar. And what I’ll suggest to the court is that during a break, maybe we photograph or get a smaller digital photograph of this to make it part of our record. I understand that the defense might want to take this map with them when they leave and the state has no objection to that, so long as we make a record about what the map looks like, is everybody in agreement with that?
Speaker 8: (54:21)
Speaker 9: (54:21)
Speaker 10: (54:21)
Jesse Evans: (54:26)
So again, Judge, I know these are not the ideal circumstances and we are truly appreciative of the court being accommodating to us as we try to navigate through this pandemic and the issues that we’re facing here. But I think during our test run, the best way we’re able to do this, this will be the state’s exhibit number one that we’ll [inaudible 00:54:49] to the defense. I situate this appropriately, I believe everyone can see that on the video, let’s get confirmation by thumbs up or otherwise.
Speaker 11: (54:58)
Can you just turn it this way a little bit.
Jesse Evans: (54:58)
I can. Just trying to get the glare off of it.
Speaker 11: (55:05)
Speaker 12: (55:05)
Jesse Evans: (55:07)
Is that okay with you? I see glare on the corner, but otherwise are you satisfied?
Speaker 9: (55:12)
Jesse Evans: (55:12)
I’m going to hand you this pointer, if you please extend that as talking about, and now I’m going to try to hold this. Describe what is depicted here for the benefit of Judge Harold.
Richard Dial: (55:24)
This is the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
Jesse Evans: (55:28)
And then show generally the entrance into Satilla Shore that you [inaudible 00:55:33].
Richard Dial: (55:34)
This is the entrance, up here, to Satilla Shores.
Jesse Evans: (55:37)
And you had talked generally about a house under construction. Let’s talk about the locations that you talked about during your testimony before we go into the chronology a little bit more.
Richard Dial: (55:48)
Certainly again, this is Satilla Drive that comes down. This would be approximately the residence that was under construction, and that would belong to Mr. Larry English. This is marked as 230 Satilla Drive. This is Greg and Travis McMichael’s residence, where they resided. Down Burford, it would be within this area here, is William Bryan’s residence, along Burford.
Jesse Evans: (56:19)
And then what about Holmes Drive? Do you see that depicted here as well?
Richard Dial: (56:23)
Yes. This is Satilla Drive here, this is Holmes Road. The intersection, the shooting incident took place about here.
Jesse Evans: (56:31)
Based on the chronology that you just described for the court, please show where Mr. Arbery would have initially entered this neighborhood.
Richard Dial: (56:39)
He would enter the neighborhood from up here, which is the entrance. Again, along Satilla Drive is where the house under construction is. And that’s where you first see him, we have him on video, was coming along Satilla Drive in this direction, coming into the house.
Jesse Evans: (56:53)
Will you make sure that you speak up since our court reporter’s now facing your back. And I trust you will give me an indication if you cannot [inaudible 00:57:02].
Richard Dial: (57:02)
I’m sorry, yes. This is Satilla Drive when you come in from the front, if you’ll come here, this is the house that’s under construction. We have video of Mr. Arbery as he’s coming in this direction down Satilla Drive when enters into the home that’s under construction.
Jesse Evans: (57:17)
I don’t think we’ve explicitly covered times yet, but was this broad daylight?
Richard Dial: (57:22)
It was, yes, it was approximately 1:00 in the afternoon.
Jesse Evans: (57:26)
[inaudible 00:57:26] afternoon?
Richard Dial: (57:26)
Jesse Evans: (57:27)
And what about weather conditions? Sunny?
Richard Dial: (57:29)
Sunny, clear, yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (57:30)
Describe now the chronology, the based on the statements that you all have of the defendants and the video that you piece together of where Ahmaud Arbery initially traveled and what transpired involving the two pickup trucks.
Richard Dial: (57:45)
Certainly. So, again, Mr. Arbery is inside the house that’s under construction. The neighbor comes out, sees him, he is standing approximately here. He’s the one that calls 9-1-1.
Jesse Evans: (57:59)
Police are on their way.
Richard Dial: (57:59)
Yes, sir, police are on their way.
Jesse Evans: (58:02)
Let me ask you this. Did any police officers actually respond in such haste that they were able to hear anything?
Richard Dial: (58:07)
Yes, sir. The first responding officer again, he is coming back down here, he then hears the gunshots, and he, he knows that in his body cam footage.
Jesse Evans: (58:18)
Not to keep interrupting you, but if you will describe the path and travel of Mr. Arbery per statements and video.
Richard Dial: (58:23)
Certainly. Again, Mr. Arbery comes out of the residence under construction, then heads south along Satilla Drive. You see him on the video as he comes in this direction. This, again, is Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael’s house. Greg McMichael’s statement is he goes and tells Travis, they then grab their weapons. On the video, you see Travis, what appears to be Travis McMichael’s truck come off of 230 [inaudible 00:58:49] and go in this direction in pursuit of Mr. Arbery.
Richard Dial: (58:54)
According to their statements, Mr. Arbery then comes down Satilla Drive, he then goes onto Burford Road. Again, he comes by Mr. Bryan’s house, which would be in this general area here. There’s video, he’s going back and forth, or by Travis McMichael’s truck at this point. Then according to statements, Mr. Arbery goes down Buford, Travis McMichael is pursuing him down Buford, before they get to the turn here, Mr. Arbery turns back and goes back north along Buford. This is when Greg McMichael gets out of his vehicle. In the meantime, Mr. Bryan has decided to go in pursuit himself. He has entered his truck. He sees Mr. Arbery coming down Buford. He pulls out in the roadway in attempt to block him in and stopped him. Mr. Arbery goes around his truck.
Richard Dial: (59:50)
At this point, Mr. Bryan is in pursuit of Mr. Arbery, trying to stop him, trying to detain him. Travis McMichael has made the decision to, instead of going back this way to go around Burford to when it turns into Zellwood here, and to come back along all the way up to Zellwood and turn down Holmes Road. Mr. Travis McMichael’s statement is to try to cut Mr. Arbery off.
Jesse Evans: (01:00:11)
I want to pause and ask you some questions of what you just articulated for the court. There was a point in time, at least one, where Mr. Arbery’s path of travel was redirected, correct?
Richard Dial: (01:00:21)
Jesse Evans: (01:00:22)
And was it redirected in such a manner that have he continued straight he would have been able to leave the Satilla Shores neighborhood?
Richard Dial: (01:00:28)
Jesse Evans: (01:00:28)
And was Mr. Arbery ever able to leave this neighborhood based on the evidence that you have?
Richard Dial: (01:00:34)
No, sir. He was killed before he exited the neighborhood.
Jesse Evans: (01:00:37)
You had talked, and based on my questioning on direct about the two vehicles, the two pickup trucks in this neighborhood separating at one point, describe in more detail, that path of travel of both of the trucks after they separated, essentially.
Richard Dial: (01:00:54)
Certainly. Mr. Bryan, again, is headed generally north on Buford, back towards Satilla Drive in pursuit of Mr. Arbery because that’s the direction Mr. Arbery is going at this point, is back towards Satilla Drive, which is the way he has come into the neighborhood and he’s going back the way he came. Of course, Travis McMichael, as I said, he is at this point on Buford instead of going back in pursuit, he decides to loop around, according to his statement, and try to cut off Mr. Arbery by going down Holmes Road.
Jesse Evans: (01:01:23)
Was Mr. Arbery redirected by Mr. Bryan’s vehicle, such that he could not make it straight out of the exit of this particular neighborhood?
Richard Dial: (01:01:31)
That’s correct. Again, Mr. Bryan has stated that he tried to stop and detain Mr. Arbery, several times. At one point, actually, Mr. Bryan goes on Satilla Drive, Mr. Arbery being pursued, Mr. Bryan turns down Holmes Road quickly, to the point where Mr. Bryan has to turn around and then go down Holmes Road. So he’s pursuing… Mr. Arbery’s going down Holmes Road towards Zellwood, Mr. Bryan is coming behind Mr. Arbery on Holmes Road towards Zellwood while Travis McMichael is turning off of Zellwood onto Holmes Road coming back towards Mr. Arbery.
Jesse Evans: (01:02:04)
Is this the point that you just articulated to the court earlier this morning that the two vehicles were essentially facing each other, almost pinning Ahmaud Arbery in between the two?
Richard Dial: (01:02:14)
That’s correct, yes.
Jesse Evans: (01:02:15)
And describe if you will, what happened next based on the video and the statements that you have, that were obtained as part of this investigation?
Richard Dial: (01:02:23)
Yes. On Holmes Road, according to the video and the statements, Mr. Arbery turns, and he goes back and towards Mr. Bryan. We do not know from the investigation this point, whether he saw Mr. McMichael’s truck at this point, but that’s a reasonable conclusion at this point. But he turns around and goes back towards Mr. Bryan, goes round Mr. Bryan’s truck. Mr. Bryan then pulls off the road because Travis McMichael’s truck is coming back towards Mr. Arbery, and Mr. Bryan then, after Travis McMichael’s truck passes, guts back onto Holmes Road and proceeds back towards the intersection of Holmes Road Satilla Drive in pursuit of Mr. Arbery and Travis McMichael’s truck.
Jesse Evans: (01:03:05)
Is this the point in time where both vehicles are essentially facing the same direction?
Richard Dial: (01:03:09)
It is, yes.
Jesse Evans: (01:03:11)
And this roadway, obviously we’re just looking at a map here, you’ve been to it, correct?
Richard Dial: (01:03:15)
Jesse Evans: (01:03:15)
Is it a wide roadway, or is fairly narrow?
Richard Dial: (01:03:18)
It’s fairly narrow. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:03:19)
Why don’t you describe, first of all, had Mr. Arbery been able to make it to the ends, the intersection here of Holmes, and I guess that’s Satilla, had he made a right there, had he been able to make a right, where would he have been able to go?
Richard Dial: (01:03:31)
He would’ve gone up Satilla Drive and out of the neighborhood.
Jesse Evans: (01:03:34)
And what’s across from this neighborhood that you’ve given some testimony about before?
Richard Dial: (01:03:38)
There’s Highway 17 is here and across Highway 17 is the entrance into Mr. Arbery’s neighborhood, it goes back into where he lives.
Jesse Evans: (01:03:46)
His neighborhood’s right across the highway.
Richard Dial: (01:03:48)
Jesse Evans: (01:03:50)
All right, now when we pick up here with some of the video that you observed that Mr. Bryan took, correct?
Richard Dial: (01:03:54)
Jesse Evans: (01:03:55)
Describe where generally the sequence of events that occurred in terms of the fatal shooting of Mr. Arbery on Holmes Drive.
Richard Dial: (01:04:02)
So Travis McMichael, at some point, has gotten in front of Mr. Aubrey. He actually stops right about here near the intersection of Holmes Road and Satilla Drive, that’s where he stops his vehicle.
Richard Dial: (01:04:12)
It is facing towards the intersection of Satilla Drive with the rear of the vehicle facing back down Holmes Road. Mr. Bryan from the video is coming down Holmes Road, Mr. Arbery is between the two trucks.
Jesse Evans: (01:04:24)
He’s trapped in between the two?
Richard Dial: (01:04:25)
Jesse Evans: (01:04:26)
Richard Dial: (01:04:27)
Mr. Bryan, then you see there’s a slight curve in the vehicle, which would be approximately this curve here. Mr. Arbery’s coming towards Mr. McMichael’s truck. Mr. McMichael is outside of the driver’s side of the truck, armed with the shotgun at this point. Mr. Arbery then comes, sees Mr. McMichael, changes and goes around the passenger side of the vehicle, not towards Travis McMichael, but around him. And then Travis McMichael changes his position to the front of the vehicle and at that point is when Mr. Arbery sees Travis McMichael change position in front of the vehicle and then engages Mr. McMichael.
Jesse Evans: (01:05:05)
That’s when the shooting took place?
Richard Dial: (01:05:06)
Yeah, the first shot, yes, sir. After the first shot, then, because Travis McMichael doesn’t back up here in the first shot. That’s first shot. There’s physical confrontation. You see Travis McMichael backing up there is physical altercation at this point. You see that, you hear the second shot is off camera as well, but you do see the blood mist come into the camera screen. Then you see, then both Travis McMichael and Mr. Arbery are fighting, they come back into the view of the screen, then you see the third shot.
Jesse Evans: (01:05:38)
And this is all, the altercation you talked about, is all after that first shot to the chest that Travis McMichael made an admission about.
Richard Dial: (01:05:45)
Yes, sir. That’s correct.
Jesse Evans: (01:05:46)
And for the benefit of a record, I thought I heard this and I know it was a minor error, but I want to make sure we’re making a record, I think you said a curve or a bend in the vehicle, you meant bend in the road.
Richard Dial: (01:05:54)
Road, I meant the road. Yes, sir. Yeah, I apologize.
Jesse Evans: (01:05:54)
I just wanted to make sure that we’re accurate on that point. All right, thank you, sir. I’m going to set this here and I’m going to let you hold that incase [inaudible 01:06:06] cross that you might need it for.
Jesse Evans: (01:06:23)
During the investigation of this case, you’re aware of the cause and manner of death as determined by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Medical Examiners Office, correct?
Richard Dial: (01:06:32)
Jesse Evans: (01:06:33)
And can you please articulate for the benefit of the court and our record cause and manner of death?
Richard Dial: (01:06:38)
Cause was gunshot wound, manner was homicide.
Jesse Evans: (01:06:41)
I want to talk about statements of the defendants. There were statements of all three defendants that were given to a number of investigators in the case, including Glenn County Police Department.
Richard Dial: (01:06:53)
Jesse Evans: (01:06:54)
First focusing on Greg McMichael’s statement, was there any body cam video obtained showing statements that he made the responding officers?
Richard Dial: (01:07:02)
There was, yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:07:04)
And just summarize any admissions or statements that he made to Glen County police officers.
Richard Dial: (01:07:10)
Greg McMichael, pretty much relates on the body cam footage and then later on, whenever there’s, he actually is interviewed on camera by the Glenn County Police Department, he makes admissions to seeing Mr. Arbery running down the roadway. His statement to the effect is he didn’t know Mr. Arbery had stolen anything or not, but he had a gut feeling that Mr. Arbery may have been responsible for thefts that were in the neighborhood previously. And he actually, I think he actually says gut, his instinct told him that. He then tells Travis McMichael, he then describes the pursuit of Mr. Arbery. He says that, during Greg McMichael’s statement, he only hears two shots during his statement.
Richard Dial: (01:08:05)
It appears by looking at his description of events that he either didn’t realize the first shot or didn’t register it. He was, admits to being on the phone with 9-1-1 when the shooting was occurring, pulling his weapon.
Jesse Evans: (01:08:22)
Did he make any admissions to you about Mr. Bryan, at some point, volunteering to join into this chase of Mr. Arbery in the neighborhood, and how did he describe that?
Richard Dial: (01:08:32)
Yeah, he described that Mr. Bryan was trying to block him in as well.
Jesse Evans: (01:08:37)
Okay. And at the point of the actual shooting itself, did Mr. Greg McMichael make any admissions to Glen County investigators about any statements that he was making to Travis McMichael about what he should or shouldn’t do?
Richard Dial: (01:08:52)
Yes. He says, on the body camera footage, the first officer, he tells him that he was telling Travis McMichael, “Don’t-”
Richard Dial: (01:09:02)
Telling Travis McMichael, “Don’t. Don’t shoot.”
Jesse Evans: (01:09:06)
Despite that, do you have video footage showing that essentially Greg McMichael is covering Travis with a .357?
Richard Dial: (01:09:13)
I do. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:09:14)
What did Greg McMichael say about Travis’s shooting of the victim in terms of where he shot him specifically on his body?
Richard Dial: (01:09:26)
Jesse Evans: (01:09:27)
Okay. Similarly, was there video footage, both body cam and also interview footage of Travis McMichael and his assertions about what happened on this date?
Richard Dial: (01:09:38)
Yes. Travis McMichael’s particularly interview was done at the Glynn County Police Department with him where he went into detail about what occurred.
Jesse Evans: (01:09:46)
Did Travis McMichael make any admissions about ordering the victim at gunpoint to try and get on the ground or anything like that?
Richard Dial: (01:09:54)
Yes, he did.
Jesse Evans: (01:09:56)
Prior to shooting?
Richard Dial: (01:09:57)
Prior to shooting. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:09:59)
What about any admissions that were made about the fatal shooting itself?
Richard Dial: (01:10:03)
He admits to firing his shotgun three times. He says that all three shots struck the victim and he said that the first shot was to the chest of the victim.
Jesse Evans: (01:10:13)
Prior to that, had Mr. Travis McMichael made any admissions about choosing to chase the victim with his pickup truck you’ve described?
Richard Dial: (01:10:21)
Jesse Evans: (01:10:23)
He was the driver of that truck?
Richard Dial: (01:10:24)
He was the driver of the truck. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:10:26)
I now want to turn your attention to Mr. Roddie Bryan. Are you aware of any admissions that he made, both to Glynn County Police Department, as well as investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations about his role in this particular crime that led to the arrest warrants you obtained?
Richard Dial: (01:10:43)
Yes, sir. I am.
Jesse Evans: (01:10:44)
Can you describe generally for the court, some of those specific admissions that were made by Mr. Bryan?
Richard Dial: (01:10:49)
Mr. Bryan admits to joining the pursuit of Mr. Arbery. He admits to trying to block Mr. Aubrey in, trying to detain him several times, both before that Mr. Arbery turned onto Holmes Road and then while on Holmes Road.
Jesse Evans: (01:11:09)
Did he make any admissions to using his vehicle to redirect the victim within the Satilla Shores neighborhood prior to the fatal shooting?
Richard Dial: (01:11:17)
Yes, he did.
Jesse Evans: (01:11:19)
Did he talk about the victim doubling back and trying to get away from this vehicle?
Richard Dial: (01:11:23)
He did. Yes. Several times.
Jesse Evans: (01:11:25)
Did he confirm for you that the video you’ve now seen and collected was made by him on his cell phone?
Richard Dial: (01:11:31)
Jesse Evans: (01:11:34)
Did he also confirm, he being Mr. Bryan, that he saw Travis stopped in the middle of the roadway as Mr. Bryan was driving after Mr. Arbery leading to the fatal shooting?
Richard Dial: (01:11:46)
Jesse Evans: (01:12:09)
For purposes of our record, we’ve had the benefit of this witness being able to identify the McMichaels, because they’re seen on video, but because defendant has waived his presence for Mr. Bryan, we’re not able to do an in-court identification in him. Are you stipulating to identification?
Speaker 15: (01:12:26)
Jesse Evans: (01:12:26)
Okay, so for our record, I’ll ask the court to accept that stipulation that Mr. Bryan is not present for this particular hearing has been identified had this witness been able to be asked about that particular issue.
Speaker 16: (01:12:42)
All right, I will accept that.
Jesse Evans: (01:12:43)
Thank you, sir. The last thing that I think I need to talk to you about, well, last a couple of things. This is going to involve an uncomfortable conversation, and you and I have talked about this a couple of times, is that correct?
Richard Dial: (01:12:55)
Yes, sir. We have.
Jesse Evans: (01:12:56)
You know that I want to ask you about a particular quote that Travis McMichael stated on the crime scene that was overheard by one of the defendants and shared with investigators prior to police arriving, correct?
Richard Dial: (01:13:11)
That’s correct. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:13:13)
Though this may be an uncomfortable conversation for the benefit of the court and for the record, we’re making it clear that this is not your quote, it’s not the GBI’s quote. This is a quote from the statement of Mr. Bryan as to what he heard Travis McMichael say prior to police arriving, correct?
Richard Dial: (01:13:29)
Very much so. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:13:31)
Understanding that and understanding that it might be a little uncomfortable to talk about the words, because it involves a curse word and something else, I need to ask you about that quote. Can you please articulate for the court what Mr. Bryan said he heard Travis McMichael say prior to police arriving and after the fatal shooting?
Richard Dial: (01:13:48)
Yes. Mr. Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr. Aubrey was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael made the statement, “Fucking nigger.”
Jesse Evans: (01:14:08)
Since becoming involved in this investigation, you’ve acquired a number of other videos that have been reviewed, is that right?
Richard Dial: (01:14:13)
Yes, that’s correct.
Jesse Evans: (01:14:17)
I want to ask you, because we’re talking about principles involving a party of the crime and things like that, have you also had an opportunity, you and your agency, to review any jail recordings?
Richard Dial: (01:14:27)
We have. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:14:29)
I want to ask a couple of things regarding the jail recordings and also about conversations between the defendants prior to the arrest. Was there a delay before you were involved in the case and able to secure the arrest warrants that are the subject of this preliminary hearing?
Richard Dial: (01:14:43)
There was. Yes, sir.
Jesse Evans: (01:14:45)
Have you had an opportunity to review whether there’s any evidence of the defendants communicated with each other after the fatal shootings, but prior to the arrest warrant in this case?
Richard Dial: (01:14:54)
Yes, sir. I have.
Jesse Evans: (01:14:55)
Tell the court what you found about that since we’re talking about party to the crime conspiracy culpability in just a few minutes.
Richard Dial: (01:15:01)
Yes. We have uncovered evidence through statements that Greg McMichael had conversation with Mr. Bryan concerning the video in the incident.
Jesse Evans: (01:15:14)
Okay, and specifically, have you acquired a jail call where any of the McMichaels refer to Mr. Bryan in a favorable way?
Richard Dial: (01:15:23)
I have. There in a jail call that my agency obtained and reviewed, Greg McMichael was on the phone with a caller. The caller asked him about Mr. Bryan. At first, Mr. McMichael says he can’t talk about it, and then he says that Mr. Bryan’s an ally.
Jesse Evans: (01:15:42)
He uses the term ally referencing his co-defendant, Mr. Bryan?
Richard Dial: (01:15:45)
Jesse Evans: (01:15:46)
This is after the McMichael’s arrest, but prior to Mr. Bryan’s arrest?
Richard Dial: (01:15:50)
Jesse Evans: (01:15:52)
Just a moment, sir. I think that’s all I have at this time, judge.