GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — On Friday the trial will begin to determine whether the killing of a young Black man who was jogging through a southeast Georgia neighborhood on a February day last year constituted murder.
Opening statements in the trial of the death of Ahmaud Arbery are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in a Glynn County courthouse.
A weekslong jury selection process ended on Wednesday, with the contentious final selection of 11 white jurors and just one Black juror - after the defense successfully struck 11 of the remaining 12 Black prospective jurors from the pool.
The judge said the attempts to strike the prospective Black jurors en masse appeared to involve "intentional discrimination." But, the judge said, they would not be re-seated because the defense offered "legitimate, non-discriminatory, clear, reasonable, specific reasons" to strike each individual juror.
Authorities have said Arbery, a Black man, was running through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Glynn County, near Brunswick, on Feb. 23, 2020 when father and son Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael left their home and began pursuing him. The McMichaels got ahead of him in their truck and blocked the road while a third man, William "Roddie" Bryan, followed and helped effectively pin him in.
Bryan filmed the incident from his following car.
The video taken by Bryan shows Travis McMichael got into a struggle with Arbery, who tried to run around the McMichaels' stopped vehicle blocking the road, and shot him.
Afterward the McMichaels claimed they were attempting a citizen’s arrest, finding Arbery suspicious after there had been a string of thefts they’d reported in the area. Surveillance video from surrounding properties later showed Arbery wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary when the McMichaels began chasing him.
A house under construction he momentarily stepped into and looked around at was a frequent stopping point for people on walks or jogs through the neighborhood - the lawyer for the owner of the property later telling 11Alive there was a water source on site that people sometimes tried to get a drink from.
The subsequent treatment of the killing by local prosecutors as justified, and the initial lack of arrest or any legal action against the men now accused of murder, led to a significant outcry at Arbery's death when video of it emerged months later.
Arbery, along with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, subsequently became one of the significant symbols of the Black Lives Matter protests that swept across the country in the summer of 2020.