BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A jury is now set in the trial of three men charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. The jury is made up of 11 white people and one Black person, according to lawyers on both sides.
All 12 members, along with four alternates, will be seated and sworn in Friday, when opening statements in the trial are expected to begin. The races of the alternate jurors were not released.
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Prosecutors made a motion Wednesday to reconsider the strikes against the other Black potential jurors.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said there appears to be “intentional discrimination” by the defense but ruled the attorneys had other legal reasons besides race to strike those potential jurors.
“They have been able to explain to the court why besides race those individuals were struck from the panel,” Walmsley said.
Jury in the death of Ahmaud Arbery trial is set . Lawyers say 11 Caucasian and 1 African American . Unclear on gender breakdown. Earliest for opening statements will be Friday morning . @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/dZxqYuKzIr— Tony Thomas (@TonyThomasWSB) November 3, 2021
Race has been at the center of the case from the start.
Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, who are all white, are accused of chasing and killing Arbery, who is Black, in a Brunswick neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery three times.
The men have claimed self defense and said they thought Arbery was a burglar in the neighborhood. Investigators have said Arbery was unarmed and there’s no evidence he had stolen anything. Prosecutors said it was racially motivated murder.
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Prosecutors said the attorneys representing the McMichaels along with Bryan used nearly half of their peremptory strikes to get all but one African-American being considered Wednesday for the jury.
“They exercised 13 strikes against white jurors and 11 of the strikes against the African-American jurors,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said.
“We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The majority of the African American jurors that came in here were struck for cause immediately because of their affirmed opinions,” defense attorney Laura Hogue said.
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The jury selection process lasted over two weeks for the trial, which is being held in Glynn County where the shooting took place.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 27% of the 85,000 population in the county is Black. The judge said 25% of the pool from which the final jury was chosen was Black.
The 16 jurors, including four alternates, were selected from a smaller pool of 64 qualified would-be candidates.
The jury has been instructed to return Friday morning at 9 a.m. The court will be back in session Thursday morning to deal with several other legal matters.
ABC News contributed to this report.
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