Nearly all-white jury selected for trial of men charged in killing of Ahmaud Arbery

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (NBC) – After dealing with pre-trial motions Thursday, opening statements are expected Friday in the trial of three men accused of chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging through a rural neighborhood in southeast Georgia.

The deadly shooting was captured on cell phone video and sparked nationwide protests.

Adding to the controversy now is the make-up of the jury that will listen to arguments and testimony in the high-profile case.

It took two weeks to seat a jury and now—as they prepare to start their work—outside observers, Ahmaud Arbery’s family, and even the judge in the case have questions about the panel.

Demands for justice were made outside the Glynn County Courthouse. Inside there’s a judicial housekeeping of sorts with the judge listening to arguments on motions in the trial of three men facing murder charges in the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

Judge Timothy Walmsley said, “In this particular case there are the significant overtones of race to begin with”

Arbery, a Black man, was shot and killed while jogging through a Brunswick neighborhood, chased down by two white men: Greg McMichael and his son Travis who said they thought he was a burglar.

Their friend William “Roddie” Bryan captured the confrontation and deadly shooting on cell phone video.

It took 12 days to seat a jury. Defense lawyers struck down 11 potential Black jurors, citing what they call “strong bias,” leaving one African-American on the panel.

Judge Walmsley said, “This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination in the panel.”

Still, Judge Walmsley is moving forward with the trial, saying the defense provided legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for excluding the potential jurors.

Marcus Arbery Sr. is Ahmaud Arbery’s father. He said, “You’ve got a jury like 1955. That’s why we’re here fighting. We’re not going to put up with this… what law did he break?”

Opening arguments in the high-profile case are expected Friday.

Lawyers say the trial could last a full month.

The McMichaels and Bryan face possible sentences of life in prison.

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