The McMichaels, armed and riding in Travis McMichael’s pickup truck, chased Arbery as he ran through the neighborhood. Seeing them pass by his house, Bryant got in his pickup truck and joined in the chase.
Race is expected to play a big role during jury selection and at trial, depending on what evidence Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley allows.
“We all know that the trial is going to be an issue of whether or not these folks were racist or not,” said Marietta lawyer Ashleigh Merchant, who is closely following the case.
In a pretrial motion, lawyers for the McMichaels are asking Walmsley to prohibit the state from putting into evidence photographs of the vanity plate on the front of Travis McMichael’s pickup truck. It depicted Georgia’s previous state flag which prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem.
Prosecutors are expected to argue that the sight of the license plate likely caused a panicked Arbery to try even harder to run away from the McMichaels.
Jury selection is expected to be a challenge because the case has received so much publicity, jury consultant Denise de La Rue said.
“I would not trust a juror who came in in Glynn County and said, ‘I’m not familiar with this case,’” de La Rue said. “They’re either not being truthful or living in a cave.”