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Arbery Trial: 64 potential jurors finally qualified; next step is to narrow down to final panel

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT
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GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - On the eleventh day of questioning, the court has finally qualified 64 potential jurors in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery.

The next step will be narrowing down that field to the final panel of 16 – 12 jurors and 4 alternates.

Tuesday, the prosecution and defense were working to cross the qualifying process finish line with a group of 20 potential jurors inside the courthouse. Outside the courthouse, we caught up with an attorney representing William “Roddie” Bryan, who says he’s appreciative of the time potential jurors have taken to participate in the jury selection process.

“I think all the lawyers are pleased that we’re getting close to having a group of jurors qualified, and get this process moving along. Everybody’s worked real hard at it, and it the way our justice system is supposed to work,” said attorney Kevin Gough.

Gough also says, for the most part, he’s pleased with the honesty of potential jurors during voir dire.

We also spoke with an attorney representing Travis McMichael during the lunch break. He says he’s anticipating a jury to be selected, and opening statements to begin this Thursday.

Jason Sheffield, an attorney representing Travis McMichael, says one thing the defense will be asking the Court is to bring all of the qualified jurors into one room with the attorneys to begin the process of elimination.

“That’s going to take time to bring those people through the court and strike. And then hopefully we’ll be left with some considerable amount of time to work through motions. So we may not be getting to opening statements until Thursday, maybe Thursday afternoon, maybe Friday,” Sheffield said.

Sheffield pointed out there are a lot of pending motions that need to be addressed by the judge before opening statements begin, like those dealing with evidence.

“I think we all want to try to get these issues out in the open to give the Court some meaningful time to think about it and to rule on it. But there’s still a lot of fireworks that could begin to be set off with what the evidence might be at trial.”

Sheffield was also asked if a motion to change the location of the trial is being considered by the defense. He says it’s not off the table, and a decision on whether or not to file a motion to change venue would be made very soon.

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