ATLANTA — This may be the week when a jury is selected to hear the Ahmaud Arbery case.
The process of selecting the jury began two weeks ago.
Arbery, a Black man, was shot to death last year in Brunswick while he was jogging, and three white men on trial are accused of murdering him.
There is a chance that testimony could begin by the end of the week or the first of next week.
In the Glynn County courtroom, Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, and his mother, Wanda Cooper, continue to watch and listen during the laborious jury selection process that’s now into its third week.
The men who are accused of murdering their son while he was jogging last year sit a few feet away: defendants Greg McMichael, and his son Travis McMichael, and William Roddy Bryan.
Travis McMichael’s attorney, Jason Sheffield is alarmed, saying that 40 percent of the Glynn County residents summoned for jury duty in this case are just not showing up to court; Sheffield says that is limiting the defendants’ right to select a jury of their peers.
Roddy Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, is filing a motion asking the judge to enforce all the jury summonses, so the defense can find jurors who, as Gough puts it, are white males, over 40, born in the South, who do not have a college degree.
In Gough’s words, “Bubba or Joe Six-Pack seem to be significantly underrepresented in the jury pool.”
“To the extent that that population, then, doesn’t fairly reflect the accused in this case,” Sheffield told reporters outside the courtroom, “where the accused can’t look across the courtroom and see persons that are similarly situated to themselves, then it may be that we really don’t have a fair, cross-section of the population.”
Still, the defense has not asked for a change of venue, working to pick 64 potential jurors, to be pared down to the final 12 plus four alternates, possibly by Friday.
Arbery’s parents patiently watch and listen to all of the proceedings leading up to opening statements, expecting, they have said, that the jury, once it’s selected and hears the case, will convict — perhaps by Thanksgiving.