State Watch

Judge seats nearly all-white jury to hear Ahmaud Arbery case

The jury that will consider the fates of three white men accused of killing a Black jogger consists of 11 white people and a single Black member. 

Prosecutors in the Ahmaud Arbery case, which drew national attention last year, blame defense attorneys for rejecting Black jurors, according to The New York Times.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s family, said on Twitter that the defense team had 24 strikes and 11 of the strikes were directed at Black people who might otherwise have been placed on the jury.

 

The judge presiding over the case said the jury would be seated nonetheles.

“This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination,” Judge Timothy Walmsley said of the defense’s jury selection on Wednesday, per CNN.

But he said he would still allow the jury to be seated, saying the discrimination “doesn’t mean the court has the authority to reseat simply because we have this prima facie case.”

After two hours of the defense justifying their decisions, Walmsley ruled that they had valid reasons, apart from race, to dismiss the jurors, CNN reported.

“One of the challenges that I think counsel recognized in this case is the racial overtones in the case,” Walmsley added, per CNN. “This is sort of the continuation of a conversation that I think will continue for a long time, with respect to this case.”

The jurors are set to return to court on Friday morning. They will be tasked with determining if Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are guilty of malice and felony murder. 
 
The three are accused of shooting and killing Arbury in trucks after he was seen jogging in their area. The men have said they suspected Arbery in a series of break-ins in the neighborhood.
 
They also face charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and all three face potential life sentences.
 
The Hill has reached out to the defense and prosecution for comment.
Tags Ahmaud Arbery Georgia Jury selection

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