Court officials mailed jury duty notices to 1 out of every 85 residents in Glynn Country, Georgia for the trial of three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery, The Associated Press reported.
The final tally represented about 1,000 people summonsed for the case, which was done in an effort to combat the publicity Arbery’s death received and to increase the chances of finding impartial jurors on the first try.
“So many people either know the defendants or the victim or know something about it,” Glynn County Superior Court Clerk Ronald Adams told the AP by phone Tuesday.
Residents in the jury pool will undergo a questioning course of action so officials can determine if they will look at the case based solely on the evidence.
Glynn County is home to Satilla Shores, the town where Arbery and the three defendants lived and where the 25-year-old was killed.
Jury selection is set to begin Monday for the men accused of killing Arbery. Greg and Travis McMichael, a father and son, are accused of following Arbery in a pickup truck after they spotted him jogging by their neighborhood.
The third man, William “Roddie” Bryan, is a neighbor of the McMichaels. He is accused of joining in the pursuit of Arbery and filming on his cell phone as Travis McMichael allegedly shot Arbery at close range.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
A total of 600 people are being told to report Monday morning to a courthouse annex building. Adams said an additional 400 will be on standby to show up Oct. 25 if there are not enough qualified jurors in the first batch.
Ultimately, the estimate needs to seat a final jury of 12 people, plus four alternate jurors ready to fill in for jury members who get sick or otherwise must be dismissed during the trial. To get there, Adams said, could take two weeks or longer.
Defense attorneys say the three defendants committed no crimes. Greg McMichael told police they thought Arbery was a burglar after he had been recorded by security cameras inside a nearby home under construction. He said his son shot Arbery in self-defense after Arbery attacked with his fists.
Prosecutors say Arbery was merely out jogging when he was killed. Investigators in the case have said Arbery was unarmed and they found no evidence he had stolen anything from the construction site.
How much jury pool members already know about the case, and whether they have already formed opinions about the defendants’ guilt or innocence, will largely determine who gets dismissed and who ends up on the final jury.
possible jurors were mailed and asked to fill out a three-page questionnaire asking whether they have followed the case in the news or on social media and what they already know about it. They will be asked more questions by the lawyers at the courthouse, both in groups and individually.
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