BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A jury has now been seated in the trial for the three men accused of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.
A mostly white jury was chosen after the defense struck 11 of 12 Black jurors from the pool of eligible jurors. Judge Timothy Walmsley said "there appears to be intentional discrimination" in striking all but one Black juror, but he stopped short of reversing the defense's peremptory strikes.
Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020. Cellphone video leaked to the public shows two armed white men in a truck approaching the 25-year-old Black man as he runs down the road. One of the men, later identified as Travis McMichael, and Arbery struggle over McMichael's shotgun before Arbery is shot and collapses.
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William "Roddy" Bryan, who recorded the video, are all charged with murder in Arbery's death.
Bookmark this page for live updates on the trial as they unfold.
5 p.m.: Court has ended for the day.
3:45 p.m.: Judge: working on a few things and needs more time to decide on this
3:30 p.m.: We're back after a bathroom break Gough asked for. He just told court if picture of truck with vanity plate of old GA state flag is allowed, it will "trigger a severance," meaning he'll file to ask for Bryan to have his own trial
3:15 p.m.: Defense now asking court not to show picture of Travis' truck that has a vanity plate of old GA state flag, which they say could be interpreted as racial, prejudicial. Asks if state needs to show image, blur license plate
3:15 p.m.: Judge denies defense's motion, says allowing body camera video because it's necessary to show how Arbery was found, how the defendants interacted with the officers
3 p.m.: Defense now asking court not to show picture of Travis' truck that has a vanity plate of old GA state flag, which they say could be interpreted as racial, prejudicial. Asks if state needs to show image, blur license plate
2:30 p.m.: Transformative Justice Coalition is marching from the courthouse to the mural of Ahmaud down the street.
12:10 p.m.: Arbery's family supporters hold a prayer circle before court breaks for lunch, until 1:15 p.m.
12:09 p.m.: The defense is now concerned about COVID-19 protocols within the jury. They ask if the jury will be spaced out with no masks, or if they will all be masked and sit in the jury box. Walmsley says he does not think they should stray from current COVID-19 protocols in place.
12:04 p.m.: Judge Walmsley says he needs more time to decide on the motion and will make his decision before opening statements.
12:03 p.m.: Things get heated between Hogue and Walmsley as they continue back and forth. Hogue asks judge for the court's full attention. Walmsley says he is following along on the copy of the motion he just received and says "Just because I'm not making eye contact with you doesn't mean I'm not paying attention."
11:58 a.m.: The defense argues they have substantial evidence to show the jury that Arbery was running to avoid arrest. Gregory McMichael's attorney, Franklin Hogue, says he filed a "supplement" to something the defense had already filed this morning. The judge and the state say they have not received the supplement. Hogue says he did the court a favor by filing it at 8:09 a.m. instead of objecting in court. Walmsley asks Hogue why he is being "antagonistic."
11:09 a.m.: The state wants to exclude evidence that Arbery was on probation at the time of the shooting, saying the defense is trying to speculate about Arbery's actions.
11:01 a.m.: Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery Sr., arrives at the courthouse with the Transformative Justice Coalition cheering him on. He says the jury seated Wednesday is a jury from the 1950s.
10:37 a.m.: A 10-minute recess begins. The next motion to be heard will be regarding probation.
10:28 a.m.: The judge grants the motion to keep Arbery's use of THC out of the trial.
10:23 a.m.: Defense attorney Sheffield says Arbery's mental illness diagnosis coupled with the use of THC makes the toxicology report relevant. The state says it is irrelevant the same way Arbery's mental health is irrelevant, which the court had earlier ruled could not be brought up because the defendants knew nothing about his mental health status at the time of the shooting.
10:11 a.m.: The state says they will not use any toxicology reports from Arbery and want the "minute amount" of THC later found in his system to be kept out of the trial.
10:01 a.m.: The judge grants the motion to exclude use of force experts from testifying.
9:40 a.m.: The state wants to stop the defense from using any "use of force experts," saying no law enforcement officers were involved, so it would be "irrelevant, confusing, misleading." The defense argues the expert would show knowledge of the training Travis McMichael has. Bryan's attorney agrees, saying the rules of force are identical whether it is a police officer or private citizen.
9 a.m.: The judge will hear motions Thursday, with opening statements pushed to Friday after the jury was seated Wednesday.
6:05 p.m.: The final jury has been selected.
6 p.m.: The judge in the death of Ahmaud Arbery case has announced the court has found intentional discrimination in the juror strike process after 11 out of 12 Black jurors were stricken from the potential juror pool.
The Judge said striking down state's motion regarding the defense's strikes because of limits on what he can do if defense gives legitimate non-discriminatory and clear reasonably specific reason to reason for striking
He can’t grant the motion.
3:52 p.m.: For the 48 of the first qualified groups of jurors: 12 Black 36 white Defense says: "We have a clear strategy for strikes and race does not come into it."
3:48 p.m.: Both sides now challenging each other's strikes. The state says defense struck 11 Black members of panel, only sat 1 Black juror. Going through McCollough Motion, concerning jurors struck due to race/skin color. State challenging 8/11 of defense's strikes used on Black members
2:49 p.m.: Judge explains to first group of 24 potential jurors this will take about 20 minutes. We're now in group three. Comes after judge met with attorneys in his chambers. "We are very close to impaneling a jury," Judge Walmsley says. He thanked everyone for their patience.
11:49 a.m.: Final jury selection is finally underway.
11:25 a.m.: Lots of talk by witnesses and GBI about how video of the shooting got into the hands of the public and Gough says it's going to be used by other defense counsel in the issue of "conspiracy of Jackie Johnson" (former DA). Asks to exclude any evidence of so-called conspiracy.
11:07 a.m.: State wants to excuse juror #466 for cause. This potential juror's wife works with Gregory McMichael's wife. State says it'll be on their conscience if the verdict is "guilty." Judge says if there's no new info that would require reconsideration, court won't grant it.
10:15 a.m.: Gough asked if the Judge reviewed the videos. Judge says no – they were not presented to me in court. “It may be a surprise or may not be, but I don’t have a Tiktok account,” says the judge.
10 a.m.: The court has not started final jury selection yet. Going through issues both sides has. To start, Kevin Gough who represents William 'Roddie' Bryan, asks judge strike a juror he says posted videos on TikTok about Arbery and didn't talk about it in her social media disclosure.
He says he will give a limited opportunity for the Defense to ask Juror 219 to comment on the TikTok videos.
9 a.m.: Arbery’s father arrives at courthouse with Founder/President Transformative Justice Coalition saying “another day on the battlefield for justice.”
9 a.m.: Final jury selection is scheduled to begin, with the court seating 12 jurors and four alternates from the narrowed-down pool of 65 qualified potential jurors that was reached Tuesday.