The jury selection process in the trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery continued into a second day on Tuesday (October 19), prompting the judge in the case to call on lawyers to speed things up.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley had a panel of 20 potential jurors to call into court on Tuesday afternoon but sent them home before lunch because attorneys hadn't finished questioning the first panel of potential jurors called into for the morning.
"I do not have the ability to just store people or keep them longer than planned," Walmsley said. "I am not comfortable with this. At the rate we're going, all these plans we have to move these panels through are not going to work."
- Knowledge of Arbery's murder
- Attitudes on race and the Black Lives Matter movement
- Whether they can remain impartial
After two long days of jury questioning, only eight people qualified. Attorneys are reportedly seeking to qualify 64 or 68 potential jurors before narrowing down that pool to the 12 and four alternates who will sit for the case.
Outside of the courthouse, Black residents feel the tensions as the community watches the trial play out in the wake of Arbery's gruesome murder nearly a year and a half ago.
"Bottom line, if these men are found not guilty, the jury is telling us our lives don't matter," Brunswick native Micah Rich told NBC News. "That you can see a guy get killed on video, a guy who was doing nothing but jogging, and no one pays for it. If we have to go through the jury somehow justifying that, well, I'm not predicting an explosion. You can count on it."
"Part of my message has been that we can passionately pursue justice without peace being the expense. ... But for the Black community, we've been appalled by what we saw on that video. So the trial will let us know as a Black and brown people if we have a justice system that we can trust to be fair for all people."
Ahmaud's Parents Speak
Before jury selection began, Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery gave a brief statement, expressing cautious hope for the trial.
The original district attorney in the case was recently booked on charges for the initial mishandling of Ahmaud's killing.
On the jury selection process so far, Marcus said this: "I'm just praying to God we get the right jury. I feel real emotional, and I'm just concentrating on justice for my boy."
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.