Group prays for Ahmaud Arbery’s family, jurors, community

Vigil held outside Glynn County Courthouse as jury deliberated Tuesday

Lisa Kent, of Brunswick, Ga., prays during a vigil outside the Glynn County Courthouse where a jury started deliberating the trial of Greg McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The jury began deliberating Tuesday after hearing 10 days of testimony. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) (Stephen B. Morton, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – As the jury in the trial of three men charged with murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery deliberated inside the Glynn County Courthouse on Tuesday, clergy members, activists and community members gathered outside.

Faith leaders from different denominations and from across the community came together about 5:30 p.m. for a grace vigil, which was held by Glynn Clergy for Equity.

More than a hundred people prayed, sang hymns and lit candles.

Rabbi Rachael Bregman, with Temple Beth Tefilloh, is a member of the Glynn Clergy for Equity and has been outside the courthouse throughout the whole trial.

“These are fairly uncertain and anxious times everywhere and especially here. As we are waiting for this verdict to come out, we know there will be a big reaction no matter what that verdict is, and we as the clergy are here to look after everyone we can,” Bregman said.

Kawanza Dukes and her 12-year-old son traveled from Texas.

“Through tragedies like this we can all come together and hopefully the truth will prevail,” Dukes said.

The group prayed for the jurors, Arbery’s family and the community. The group also stressed the importance of patience, as people from near and far are anxiously waiting for the verdict.

“I think one thing we have to do is have some patience. I heard someone over there say, ‘I hope it’s quick justice.’ And I said, ‘We want it to be right. We want it to be true, and sometimes that takes time,’” said Minister Jane Page, with Unitarian-Universalist Church.

Jurors deliberated for about six hours without reaching a verdict. The panel received the case around midday.

After initially indicating they wanted to work into the evening, the jurors were soon dismissed by the judge with instructions to resume deliberations Wednesday morning.

The panel is weighing prosecution arguments that the defendants provoked the fatal confrontation against defense attorneys’ insistence that their clients acted in self-defense.

After more than two weeks of testimony and closing arguments, the prosecution got the last word because it carries the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.