Day 4: Jury selection continues for Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Attorneys are spending a fourth day trying to whittle down a pool of hundreds of potential jurors for the trial of three men charged with the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

A fresh batch of potential jurors are in, and WTOC learned seven more jurors were qualified as potential jurors on Wednesday.

That brings the prosecution and defense that much closer to reaching 64, which was the number that one of Travis McMichael’s attorneys said they’re trying to hit before they pare that down further to a panel of 16, 12 jurors with four alternates. We spoke with a Savannah State University professor about that process.

“Sort of the honor system. Are you open minded? Has this coverage made your decision? Are you able to make a fair and objective decision,” said Dr. Bruce Mallard, Assoc. Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs, Savannah State University

One potential juror said Thursday, during one-on-one questioning with the attorneys, they formed opinions in the case based on what they’ve seen in the news and watching videos, but said they would be willing to change their opinion based on evidence. Potential jurors were also asked if they looked at case documents online, five answered yes.

Every motion in this case so far is posted right on the Glynn County Court’s website. That includes things the judge decided cannot be admitted into the trial. Things the jury is not supposed to consider at all.

“It’s a bit of a judgement call, and subjective at that, to put in the public record for public consumption things that the judge has denied. Because then it’s sort of like, well you consider it, but here it is.”

The Glynn County Court Clerks Office says all the information available on the website has been posted from the beginning because they got so many requests for it. They add everything that has been posted is public information and they have not been ordered to seal that evidence by the judge.

“The judge had the opportunity to restrict access to these records and chose not to, I guess in order to be transparent. And it certainly isn’t going to help. I’m not sure how much the average citizen can understand the motions, and therein may be a problem.”

The trial is expected to last until mid-November.

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