An Atlanta attorney has joined in the defense of William “Roddie” Bryan, one of three men accused of murder in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020, in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
Attorney Jessica Burton filed a motion Friday in Glynn County Superior Court stating her intention to represent Bryan “as additional counsel” in the case.
She joins local attorney Kevin Gough, who has represented Bryan since his arrest last May on charges that include felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Gough issued a brief statement Wednesday stating Burton had joined the defense.
“I am pleased to announce the addition of Jessica Burton, an associate with Atlanta’s Bernard & Jonson, LLC, to the defense team for William ‘Roddie’ Bryan,” Gough said in the statement.
Burton did not return phone calls or emails sent this week from The News.
“Ms. Burton is an honors graduate of John Marshall School of Law, where she received various awards and served as an editor for the Law Journal. Jessica also interned previously with the Fulton Solicitor’s office and Georgia State Representative Matt Gurtler.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agents say Bryan joined Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael in the pursuit of Arbery, 25, through the Satilla Shores neighborhood. The father and son were in a pickup truck chasing Arbery as he ran past Bryan’s home. Standing outside, Bryan joined the pursuit in his pickup truck and, GBI agents say, used his truck several times to block Arbery from running away. Bryan also used his cellphone to video the deadly final showdown, in which Travis McMichael, 35, shot the unarmed Arbery three times with buckshot at close range as the two men struggled for possession of McMichael’s shotgun in the middle of a neighborhood street.
The video was released to the internet in early May, sparking national and international outrage and leading to the arrest of the three men. The McMichaels said they suspected Arbery of burglarizing a home in the neighborhood.
Travis McMichael, 35, Gregory McMichael, 65, and Bryan, 51, all remain without bond in the Glynn County Detention Center.