After more than two weeks of a difficult jury selection process, a panel of 12 people has finally been chosen in the trial for the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery.
Only one of those jurors is Black, CNN reports. The rest of the 11 jurors were identified as white and prosecutors for the state accused defense attorneys of disproportionately striking qualified Black jurors, basing some of those strikes on race.
The court heard arguments for more than two hours on the merits of why the defense team for Gregory and Travis McMichael struck the potential jurors before Judge Timothy Walmsley ultimately denied the state’s motion and ruled there were valid reasons, beyond race, for why the Black jurors were dismissed.
Of the 16 total jurors selected — which includes four alternate jurors — there are five men and 11 women, according to the pool reporter inside the courtroom. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Ahmaud’s family, tweeted about the number of Black potential jurors who remained, saying in a post, “Only one of the 16 potential jurors is African-American.”
They will decide the fate of the McMichaels and their friend William “Roddy” Bryan, who are accused of chasing and fatally shooting 25-year-old Ahmaud as he was jogging on Feb. 23, 2020, in a Georgia suburb.
The McMichaels, who pleaded not guilty, said they were conducting a citizen’s arrest on Ahmaud whom they suspected of burglary. Travis McMichael claims he shot Ahmaud with a shotgun in self-defense.
Bryan, who recorded the video, hit Arbery with his truck after he joined the McMichaels in chasing Arbery, according to an agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
It wasn’t until video of the shooting surfaced that the men were arrested.
Jury selection was an arduous process for all involved considering about 1,000 people were summoned and fewer than half showed up.
Among those who did make it, many said they had already formed strong opinions about the case or knew the defendants personally. Others said they were scared to sit because of the potential consequences the outcomes of the case could have on the Glynn County community.
The judge told jurors to report Friday morning as the trial is set to begin with opening statements.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates.
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