Jury selection which began on Oct. 18 has concluded in the trial of three white men accused of chasing and gunning down Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black jogger in Brunswick, Georgia.
Jury selection finished at the beginning of November, with only one black member on the 12-person panel. Prosecutors have alleged that the defense team sought to illegally bar ethnic minorities during the selection period.
Today, Thursday, Nov. 4, prosecutors and attorneys are embroiled in motion hearings and getting “acquainted with the court,” said Judge Timothy Walmsley in the trial of three men accused of killing 25-year-old jogger Ahmaud Arbery last year in Brunswick, Georgia.
Wamsley is also questioning the racial makeup of the panel of 12 jurors with four alternates and expressed concern that in a county with a population of 25 percent Black residents only one juror is black.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said the law has limited his ability to intervene in what he characterized as “intentional discrimination” on behalf of the defense attorneys to remove prospective Black jurors, ABC News reports.
Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, all stand accused of playing a part in the shooting death of the 25-year-old Arbery, whom the trio encountered while he was jogging on Feb. 23, 2020.
The trio of alleged killers; Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. have also been charged with federal hate crimes and are scheduled to begin trial in federal court in February 2022.
On February 23, 2020 Ahmaud Arbery was confronted by an ad hoc group of vigilantes while jogging on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, Travis and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with firearms and went hunting for suspicious characters in the mostly white community.
The three alleged killers set for trial got into a truck and chased Arbery through the neighborhood while yelling at him, using their vehicle to cut off his route, and threatening him with firearms, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. In a gut-wrenching exchange captured on video Travis McMichael leaped out of a pickup truck and pointed a shotgun at Arbery. As Arbery struggled with his aggressor the younger McMichael fired the Remington shotgun into Arbery’s torso and killed him.
William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who recorded the shooting death of Arbery, is charged with striking the 25-year-old with his pickup truck during the February 23, 2020, encounter.
Bryan also faces charges of interference with rights and attempted kidnapping.
Each has pleaded not guilty.
“In addition to the hate-crime charges, Count Three alleges that all three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape,” the DOJ said in a news release detailing the charges.
“Counts Four and Five allege that during the crime of violence charged in Count One, Travis used, carried, brandished, and discharged a Remington shotgun, and Gregory used, carried, and brandished a .357 Magnum revolver.”