BRUNSWICK, Ga. - The Georgia prosecutor accused of mishandling the Ahmaud Arbery case was just voted out of office.
Incumbent Republican District Attorney Jackie Johnson was defeated by Independent Keith Higgins in the race for Brunswick Judicial Circuit.
FOX5’s Alex Whittler sat down with the district attorney-elect about how he plans to make changes to the office. Higgins said the Brunswick Judicial Circuit will be so transparent under his leadership, that he’s willing to accept calls and hear concerns from everyday people on his cell phone.
"First and foremost, make the office more accountable and transparent to the public," he said.
"Situations in which there is a conflict of interest in the district attorney’s office will be handled much differently in the future," Higgins said.
The district was thrust into the national spotlight this year when Johnson recused herself of the Ahmaud Arbery case because a man suspected of being involved in the young man’s death once worked for her office.
Arbery was shot and killed in the city of Brunswick while his family says he was out for a jog.
Three men were charged in connection to his death months after the fatal shooting, and the case was handed off to two other prosecutors.
Higgins, who started his run for district attorney last August, has stayed quiet about that controversial case, but Thursday, he said he is dedicated to cultivating a fair and honest court.
"Justice delayed is justice denied and justice and the system is going to provide a lesser degree of justice than it otherwise would have," he said.
Raised in Cobb County, Higgins now lives more than four hours south in Glynn County.
The husband and father served as assistant district attorney for more than two decades.
"I served as assistant district attorney for more than 23 years in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. I started in 1989," Higgins said.
No democrat qualified to run against his Republican incumbent challenger before the June primary. He said his independent status only highlights his desire for non-partisan judgment.
"My opponent ran a very partisan race and I wanted to serve everyone. Republicans, democrats and independents," he said.
Keith Higgins will take office in the five-county circuit in January.