Jacquelyn Lee Johnson admitted that she knew the McMichaels for decades and is accused of using her position to hinder their arrests.
When they blocked off Arbery’s path and stopped their truck, a confrontation would prove to be deadly. The McMichaels are adamant that they believed Arbery was a burglar terrorizing their neighborhood, and when the young man tried to defend himself, he was shot and killed.
Former prosecutor Jacquelyn Lee Johnson was initially on the case but days following the tragedy, she recused herself because former police officer George McMichael had reportedly been “an investigator in her office for more than 30 years” prior to his retirement in 2019, states NBC News. However, authorities now claim in an indictment that Johnson, who lost in her 2020 re-election, showed “favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation.” Johnson is also accused of telling two officers that Travis McMichael shouldn’t be arrested.
Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill’s name is also entangled in the controversy because he was who Johnson reportedly recommended to take her place once she stepped down from the case. Johnson was reportedly charged with “violation of oath of public officer and obstruction of a police officer.”
Both McMichaels and their neighbor who filmed Arbery’s death, William “Roddie” Bryan, have all been charged with felony murder and have insisted that they are not guilty. It is unclear what Johnson’s penalty may be if she is convicted.