‘Breakdown’ Ep.13: Jurors express some strong opinions

The trial for the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's killing got off to a slow start in Brunswick, Ga. The 13th episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast looks at some of the strong opinions expressed during jury selection. (Ryon Horne / rhorne@ajc.com)
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The trial for the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's killing got off to a slow start in Brunswick, Ga. The 13th episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast looks at some of the strong opinions expressed during jury selection. (Ryon Horne / rhorne@ajc.com)

Credit: Ryon Horne

Credit: Ryon Horne

Some potential jurors make clear that they believe race played a role in Ahmaud Arbery’s death

Jury selection for the murder trial of the three men charged with Ahmaud Arbery’s killing is underway and many prospective jurors have not been bashful about expressing their opinions.

After four days of questioning, 23 potential jurors have been qualified to be in the final pool from which 12 jurors and four alternatives will be selected. Sixty-four jurors need to be qualified before the prosecution and the defense exercise their strikes and seat a jury.

The jury selection process for the trial is examined in depth in the latest episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s ‘Breakdown’ podcast. In Season 8, the AJC is reporting on the fatal shooting of Arbery, an unarmed, 25-year-old Black man, just outside of coastal Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020.

Many, many of those summoned for jury duty said they already have negative opinions about the three white men charged with Arbery’s murder: Travis McMichael, who fired the fatal shots; his father Greg McMichael, a former investigator with the local District Attorney’s Office; and William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor who took the infamous cellphone video of Arbery’s killing.

During individual questioning, some prospective jurors condemned the three defendants’ actions.

“I thought they railroaded him,” said a woman designated as Juror No. 164. “It was almost like a lynching to me. They just wanted to hang him.”

ExploreComplete coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case

Others shared similar opinions.

Some jurors flatly said they are fearful about the repercussions if they are picked and have to render a verdict.

“Any verdict, guilty or innocent, is going to be unpopular with some people,” Juror No. 4 said. “Maybe I’d even feel unsafe.”

ExploreListen to previous seasons of the AJC's 'Breakdown' podcast