BRUNSWICK, Fla. – After 11 days, the magic number of jurors needed to move forward with the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery was reached on Tuesday.
Tuesday started with 60 potential jurors in a pool from which the final panel of 12 jurors and four alternates would be chosen. The court set a goal of 64 to advance to the final phase of jury selection but actually wound up with 65 potential jurors that will be available for the final 16 spots when selection continues Wednesday.
Testimony could begin as early as Thursday.
Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020. Cellphone video recorded by one of the defendants and leaked to the public shows two armed white men in a truck approaching Arbery as he ran down a street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, of U.S. 17 south of Brunswick. One of the men, later identified as Travis McMichael was holding a shotgun when he confronted Arbery. During a struggle over the gun, Arbery was shot and collapsed.
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William “Roddy” Bryan, who recorded the video, are all charged with murder in Arbery’s death.
In the Glynn County courtroom, Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, and his mother, Wanda Cooper, continued to watch and listen during the laborious jury selection process that’s now in its third week.
Day 11 of the trial began with Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley swearing in another 20 potential jurors.
Kevin Gough said Tuesday he may need to file a motion to get more potential jurors because according to him, the current jury pool does not appear to represent a jury of Bryan’s peers. Gough has not filed that motion yet.
Another attorney has accused Arbery supporters of talking to the potential jurors.
Robert Rubin represents Travis McMichael. Rubin said when he went out for lunch he saw members of the Transformative Justice Coalition talking to a potential juror and says there is a video of it. Judge Walmsley said he would evaluate the situation but encouraged the attorney to not think the worst.
Court is proceeding despite it being Election Day in Brunswick. The court announced the court will also meet on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Jury selection will continue to whittle down to 16 on Wednesday morning and opening arguments could begin as soon as Thursday. Prosecutors told prospective jurors the trial could last through Nov. 17 -- the Friday before Thanksgiving.