Murder Trial of Ahmaud Arbery set to begin: Three White men are the major suspects

Photo: Russ Bynum/AP

The jury selection phase of the trial of three white men accused of following and murdering Ahmaud Arbery in one of Georgia's most notorious racist homicides is set to begin on Monday, a process the court believes will take at least two weeks.

To achieve an unbiased jury panel of 12 plus four alternates for the trial of Travis McMichael, his father Greg, and their friend William "Roddie" Bryan, jury duty notices were issued to 1,000 persons in Glynn county, roughly one in every 85 adult residents.

In February 2020, the McMichaels are accused of following down Arbery, a Black man, in a pick-up truck as he went for a run. Bryan reportedly joined the pursuit and recorded Travis McMichael killing Arbery, 25, with a shotgun at close range on his iPhone. All three claim they were not involved in the murder.

The sensitivity of the case is evidenced by a large number of jury notices received, with 600 needed to appear in Glynn County Superior Court on Monday and the rest on standby for a week. The indictment last month of the original prosecutor, Jackie Johnson, who is suspected of sheltering the men, one of whom, Greg McMichael, was a former employee, has added to the issue.

The suspects were free for more than two months until the district attorney's office handed the case over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. The guys were apprehended in May 2020, and murder charges were delivered the following month by a grand jury.

Officials say they plan to finish the trial in Glynn County, but they acknowledge the difficulty of finding an unbiased jury in a case where the defendants and victim lived less than two miles apart and which drew international attention and a federal hate crime investigation.

“So many people either know the defendants or the victim or know something about it,” Associated Press quoted Ronald Adams, the Glynn county superior court clerk, 

“You don’t want to come up short on the number of qualified jurors that you have.”

Publish : 2021-10-18 11:19:00

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