By: Julia Ordaz
The trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery has begun, but court proceedings have been slow with the jury selection taking an unusually long time. The trial comes after twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, was chased and shot by three white men while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia on February 20, 2020. The pursuers were father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan- who filmed the encounter. All three men are being tried for murder.
Greg McMichael told police that he and his son believed that Arbery fit the profile of a man who had committed recent break-ins in the area. When Arbery would not stop and talk to the men in the car following him, three shots were fired, two hitting him in the chest and the third on his wrist. Coroner’s report revealed that Arbery did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of death.
In the cellphone footage shot by William Bryan, Arbery is seen trying to pass the truck, then struggling against a man with a shotgun, followed by shouting and gunshots. If convicted, the three defendants could see life sentences.
Jury selection began on October 18, but after seeing the footage many of the potential jurors have already decided that the three men are guilty, and with a set, bias jurors are no longer allowed to participate in a case. In addition, Superior Court Judge, Timothy Walmsley, has already been met with controversy after blatantly asking the possible jurors their opinions before the trial began.
Chris Slobogin, Vanderbilt University law professor says, “I mean everyone’s seen this video. I believe the judge will eventually find twelve jurors, but the work is to figure out if a person is being forthright when they say they can set aside what they saw.” Six hundred jurors were summoned with four hundred more on deck if needed, but with the evidence provided, it’s hard not to have extreme bias. The two-week schedule for the jury selection has been passed, and Judge Timothy Walmsley predicts that the process will continue for a total of four weeks.
Ahmaud’s dad, Marcus Arbery Sr., says he is focused on justice for his son and hopes that the jury selected will help reach that goal. On CNN’s morning television show New Day, Arbery Sr. maintains, “I’m just praying to God we get the right jury.”