BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A federal judge on Monday granted a motion expanding the potential jury pool in the upcoming hate crimes trial against the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery.
With the motion granted by the judge, the attorneys will be able to select potential jurors from Glynn County and 42 other counties throughout Georgia. The judge’s decision to grant the motion also ensured the trial will stay in Brunswick.
The judge said around 1,000 jury questionnaires will be sent out. She also granted a motion in terms of the jury questionnaire. The judge said two of the questions relating to social media were “too broad” and requested charges in how they were drafted.
The federal indictment says father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, intimidated and interfered with Arbery’s civil rights because of his race. Specifically, the federal indictment says Arbery, 25, was running on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood when the McMichaels armed themselves, got into a truck and chased him, with Bryan recording the incident. Bryan is also accused of chasing Arbery and using his truck to cut off Arbery’s route.
All three defendants were inside the federal courthouse in Brunswick on Monday. Their families were not. But Arbery’s family — including his father, Marcus Arbery — was.
“I just want to send a message to the whole world and let everybody know that everybody needs to be treated equally and fairly regardless of your race,” he said. “Keep them three — whatever you want to call them — behind them bars and not hurting anybody else. There’s some going to be some pain eased up off us. And the world needs to see this end, and this kind of stuff has got to stop.”
Barbara Antwine, president of the Transformative Justice Coalition, believes more shocking, disturbing evidence will be presented in this trial beyond the viral cellphone video.
“The Facebook postings, statements that were made, some videos we haven’t seen yet,” Antwine said.
The court is aiming to seat 16 jurors, with the trial starting Feb. 7. The final pretrial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
Marcus Arbery said that even with the convictions, Christmas will be hard.
“When you’re used to seeing your child every holiday, if you ain’t been there, you wouldn’t feel my pain. You’d be looking for your children to bury you, not you burying your 25-year-old baby,” he said. “So it’s hard, and I struggle every day with it. But guess what? God is good.”