Brunswick, GA – It’s proving to be a huge challenge to find a pool of potential jurors for the upcoming trial of the three men charged with the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
The presiding judge, Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley, has said he wanted a pool of 64 potential jurors from which a panel of 12 could be selected, the New York Post reported.
Jury selection began a week ago but after four days of proceedings, only 23 potential jurors had been selected for the pool.
Walmsley expressed frustration with how slow things were going, the New York Post reported.
“I am not comfortable with this,” the judge told lawyers last week.
Attorneys from both sides have reportedly given up on the possibility of finding jurors who haven’t seen the video of Arbery being shot, the New York Post reported.
At this point, they’re just trying to find enough potential jurors who have not already formed an opinion, or whom are willing to listen to all the facts of the case before making up their minds, about the guilt or innocence of 35-year-old Travis McMichael, his father, 65-year old Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor, 51-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan.
Adding fuel to the fire, the district attorney who stopped police from arresting the three men when Arbery was killed was indicted in early September on charges of obstruction of a peace officer and violation of oath of a public officer in connection with her actions in the aftermath of the shooting.
The police report said the incident began when Arbery jogged past the McMichaels’ home on Feb. 23, 2020, the Associated Press reported.
The McMichaels told police afterwards that they thought Arbery was the suspect in several recent burglaries in the neighborhood, so they armed themselves and followed him.
The men jumped in their pickup truck and followed the 25 year old as he ran through the neighborhood.
Bryan, their neighbor, jumped in his own pickup truck and joined the hunt, according to CBS News.
Special Prosecutor Jesse Evans said the men effectively boxed in Arbery with their pickup trucks, forcing the encounter that followed.
Evans said Arbery was “was chased, hunted down and ultimately executed,” CBS News reported.
The video filmed by Bryan showed Arbery running up the middle of the residential road toward a white pickup truck that was stopped in the road ahead of him.
In the video, Arbery dodged to the right onto the grass to go around the stopped truck.
Yelling can be heard in the video for a second, and then a gunshot, just before Arbery reappeared in front of the truck.
The video showed Gregory McMichael standing up in the bed of the pickup with a gun in his hand.
Arbery appeared to engage Travis McMichael, who was holding a pump-action shotgun, in a struggle for the gun that drifted off camera for a split second.
While they were off-camera, Travis McMichael’s gun went off – a puff of smoke is visible on the left side of the screen that indicated where the gunshot came from.
The video showed Arbery and Travis McMichael veered back into the frame, still engaged in a struggle over the gun, and then there was a third gunshot.
Arbery took a couple steps away from Travis McMichael and collapsed face-first in the middle of the street, the video showed.
All three men are facing trial on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony, NBC News reported.
They are also facing federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping charges.
On April 28, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a press release that a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia had indicted both McMichaels and Bryan on one count each of interference with rights and one count each of attempted kidnapping.
DOJ said both McMichaels were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Additionally, Travis McMichael was charged with one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to the press release.