The Georgia judge presiding over the trial for the three alleged murderers of Ahmaud Arbery denied a mistral request on Monday—before slamming a defense attorney for his comments about Black pastors in the courtroom. “Your words have an impact on a lot of what is going on,” Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley told Kevin Robert Gough, an attorney representing suspect William Bryan, who filmed the fatal chase of the 25-year-old Black man last year.
“Emotions are neither unreasonable or unexpected in a murder case,” the judge added, calling Gough’s comments “reprehensible.”
The rebuke came as Walmsley was denying Gough’s motion for a mistrial, apparently spurred by Rev. Jesse Jackson entering the courtroom on Monday with Arbery’s family. Last week, Gough came under fire for attempting to bar “any more Black pastors coming” into the courtroom under the pretense that their presence would influence the jury. “We have all these community leaders fearful they are going to burn the whole city down,” Gough added on Monday after seeing Jackson in the courtroom comforting Arbery’s mother, who began to cry during testimony.