Jurors are not 'blank slate' in the county shaken by the Ahmaud Arbery's murder

If the people present at the courthouse remain vocal about their opinions, lawyers for defense

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No. 218 took part in a bike ride to support the family of Ahmaud Arbery following the shooting death of that teenage Black man was chased by police and killed. No. 236 was a co-worker for a long time for one of white men accused with the murder.

The court was able to identify them solely through numbers, both individuals were called to jury duty for the trial for the murder of Arbery. After attorneys had were questioned extensively regarding the matter they were deemed by the judge to be fair enough to be allowed to remain in the jury pool from which a jury of the final selection will be chosen.

A furore over the February 20th, 2020 murder of 25-year-old Arbery was heard across in the U.S. after graphic cellphone footage of the shooting was leaked online two months after the fact. As jurors are being selected for Georgia, the Georgia population of 85,000 people where the murder occurred, it is more likely that some jurors that are selected are likely to have preconceived ideas and personal connections to the incident.

The prosecutor, judge and defense lawyers have interrogated seventy-one pool members since the jury selection process began on Monday. After eliminating those who have unshakeable biases or personal hardships 23 were judged competent to move on. More than a dozen will be required before the final jury comprising 12 members plus four alternates will be appointed.

In her interviews with potential jurors prosecution attorney Linda Dunikoski often told them that the ideal juror was the "blank slate." In the trial involving the murder of Arbery she said that's likely to be impossible.

"We can't get that because it's been all over the place," Dunikoski said during a hearing Thursday.

The jury selection process begins the Ahmaud Arbery's murder trial

OCT. 19, 202101:29

The result is jurors from all possible backgrounds left in the pool even though they came to the courthouse with much about the events and who was who were involved. This is because they believed they could make a fair decision by relying on evidence presented at trial.

Georgia law permits someone to be a juror regardless of whether they show up to the court with an opinion regarding the matter, as the person demonstrates the intention to remain open-minded according to Donnie Dixon, a Savannah defense lawyer and Former federal prosecutor.

"The operative question is: Is your opinion so fixed that you couldn't get a fair trial?" Dixon said. Dixon who isn't involved in the trial. "The truth is, who can say for sure? However, if they speak those words that are magical The judge might not disqualify them."

Greg as well as Travis McMichael, a father and a grown son were armed and chased Arbery with a pickup truck after spotting him in their neighborhood. A neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, joined the chase and captured footage on his cellphone of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery three times from a close distance using the shotgun.

Greg McMichael, who had recently retired from his tenure as an investigation officer with the local district attorney, informed police that Arbery had been previously captured by security cameras at an adjacent house that was under construction and they suspected that he'd taken. He also said Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense when Arbery attacked him.

The investigation has been dominated by outsiders. They McMichaels and Bryan weren't charged prior to the time when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took the case from the local police. Greg McMichael's connections in the case with the prosecutor led to the appointment external prosecutors from metro Atlanta. In the same way, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley from Savannah was chosen to head the court.

If a jury is set within Glynn County, in which 1,000 jury summons notices have been issued in the past, the case will eventually be decided by the people who are more close to home.

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Jury member of the pool Jury pool member. 218, a worker in the retail industry who identified herself as an Black woman. She wrote on her juror's form the following "a young man was shot due to his color and the three men that committed the act almost got away."

She told the court on Thursday that she took part in a bicycle ride to raise money for her family following the shooting. While telling lawyers she would be an impartial juror, she added that based on the information she's learned now: "I feel like they are guilty."

The majority of jurors on duty has been occupied by the murder of Arbery. One woman who is self-employed said that she was not interested when her husband attempted to talk about the case. She claimed that she went "out of my way not to read news or politics."

She is still on the jury.

Some have been disqualified due to appearing too involved. A judge disqualified an individual who claimed that she was convinced that she saw Arbery walking near her home just before his death. She said she felt deeply connected to him and observed trial proceedings with a keen eye.

No. 236 was relegated to the jury pool, even though she's been friends with Greg McMichael for over 30 years. She is still employed in as a clerical position with District Attorney Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney. Although she as well as Greg McMichael were not close friendships, she told her that they were "always just been around each other."

The woman also was able to examine Greg McMichael's file on personnel because she was charged with removing confidential information from it after journalists requested copies.

She informed her attorneys and the judge that she didn't have an opinion on the case. Her opinion, if any, was not supportive.

"I don't understand why they took it into their own hands," No. 236 stated. "That's all that bothers me concerning that particular day. If I had known, 911 would've been the best option, and let the police take care of the situation."

If the people who have been who were summoned to court remain vocal about their opinions, lawyers for defense might ask the judge to stop jury selection and transfer the case to another Georgia county.

"It's the easiest time to get a change of venue," said Don Samuel, an Atlanta defense attorney who isn't involved in the trial. "If half the people who are randomly picked are so biased they can't even sit as jurors, you're talking about a community that's saturated by pretrial publicity."