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Arbery slaying trial is a big story in a small town

The Glynn County Courthouse was quieter on Friday as the ongoing jury selection in the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery was on pause because one of the lawyers had a scheduling conflict.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The Glynn County Courthouse was quieter on Friday as the ongoing jury selection in the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery was on pause because one of the lawyers had a scheduling conflict.

Yet the case that has drawn national attention remained the talk of this town as the week ended.

A businessman, a retired educator and a social activist who each live in Brunswick all told News4Jax they hope that after the trial, the community will come together and heal from Arbery’s shooting death 20 months ago.

Gary Cook is an entrepreneur who has lived in Brunswick for 55 years.

“There are people from all over the country here now,” Cook said.

There are dozens of visitors in Glynn county shopping and buying things are local businesses.

Cook began supporting the Arbery family weeks before the video of Ahamud Arbery’s death was leaked to the public -- a leak that prompted the Georgia attorney general to ask the GBI to investigate and the quick arrests of a man, his father and a neighbor on murder charges.

Cook hopes that after this trial, relationships will improve.

“For me being in America and I feel like things can happen,” Cook said. “And now we are talking about the video and to me, it may tell the next person: no video. You can’t show this video 00 we can’t have evidence against ourselves. But it’s just overwhelming because people, in general -- Black, white, no matter your color -- you have to search your sour and search your heart and close your eyes and say, ‘What if that was my child?’”

MORE ONLINE: Full coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case

Julie Jordan is a retired educator and chairman of the Glynn County Democratic Party. She knows some residents were worried about demonstrators.

“A lot of community members and businesses owners were concerned that people coming (from) out of town may be a bit more rambunctious and cause trouble,” Jordan said. “But we haven’t seen any of that.”

Local NAACP President Sharon Lee hopes the public doesn’t believe Brunswick is unsafe because of Arbery’s shooting.

“Brunswick is on the news all the time and we are very much aware of the attention,” Lee said. “We are just hoping that people will not view us in a negative light because of this being the place where the death of Ahmaud Arbery occurred.”

The first week of the Arbery trial ended Thursday night with 23 qualified jurors and hundreds more waiting to be interviewed. Once they reach a pool of 64 qualified, they will proceed to the next phase with the goal of seating 12 jurors and four alternates to hear the trial.

Jury qualifying resumes at 8:30 a.m. Monday.


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