Court Battles

Jury selection underway in hate crimes trial of three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery

Jury selection is underway in the federal hate crimes trial of the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.

A Georgia jury found Travis McMichael, 35, his father Gregory McMichael, 65, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, guilty of murder in November. Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery as the 25-year-old Black man jogged though a largely white neighborhood in Georgia. Gregory McMichael was with his son, while Bryan recorded the men chasing down and killing Arbery.

All three men were sentenced to life in prison last month. The McMichaels were both sentenced to life without parole.

The McMichaels and Bryan now face a federal hate crimes trial, during which a jury will determine if Arbery’s race was a motivating factor in the February 2020 shooting. The charge comes with a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to Reuters.

Officials with the U.S. District Court in Brunswick said jury selection for the trial could take two weeks, according to Reuters. U.S. District Judge Lisa Wood said she intends to call 50 possible jurors daily from 43 counties in south Georgia, though there are doubts on if that goal can be achieved, the news wire noted. Twelve jurors will be seated and four alternates will be selected.

The jury selection comes after a federal judge last week rejected a plea agreement between federal prosecutors and Travis McMichael. McMichael had admitted to chasing and shooting Arbery, and said he was prepared to admit that he did so because of the victim’s race.

After the judge rejected the deal, however, McMichael took back his guilty plea. Wood said she would not get on board with the agreement because it would have committed her to a fixed sentence of 30 years in federal prison before he would have to finish his life sentence in Georgia for being convicted of murder, according to Reuters.

Gregory McMichael had come to a similar deal with prosecutors, according to Reuters, but also pulled out of it.

The McMichaels and Bryan are also facing charges of attempted kidnapping, and the McMichaels were charged with gun-related counts, according to the news wire.

Tags Arbery shooting Hate crimes Jury selection

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