BRUNSWICK, Ga. — (Note: The video above is from a related report.)
The juror profiles below are of the 12 jurors selected to decide the verdict in the murder trial of three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man.
They are compiled from notes taken by multiple pool journalists working inside the Glynn County Courthouse. Pool reporters are required because of limited seating due to COVID, and because the judge has disallowed video or audio broadcasts in order to protect juror identities.
All personal identifying information has been removed from these notes for the same reason.
Watch Tuesday morning's proceedings as the state gave its rebuttal to the defense's closing arguments and the judge gave the jury its charge instructions:
JUROR NO. 79
Appears to be a white woman in her 30s or 40s. Works retail, some law enforcement background. Family in law enforcement.
Does not own firearms ("I'm just not comfortable with them. I'm all for guns, I'm scared of them.”)
Believes police may not treat POC and white people equally. "I think a lot of times they profile Blacks."
"There's probably a lot of facts that the public is not aware of too, I don't want to draw a decision just on hearsay.”
Worried about cameras because Brunswick is a small town, but thinks she can be fair and impartial.
JUROR NO. 158
Appears to be a white older man. Former military, law enforcement. Witnessed colleagues get killed in an ambush.
Knows Kevin Gough from a Republican Party event. Has been a member of the Republican party for 50 years. Knows Glynn Schools Police Chief Rod Ellis, another juror.
Not “perfectly impartial.” Can you decide the case based on evidence? “I believe so.”
“There’s a whole lot about this case that I don’t know, however, I have been exposed to the video and I also watched the GBI present their case early on, on television.”
Could you base your decision on just what you heard in court? “I honestly believe I could”
Said his knowledge of the case was a “7” on a scale of 0-10. Discussed the case with others. “A lot of the conversation I had with coworkers was ‘what do you think the truth is?’ … A lot of the discussion was ‘where’d that happen?’ I’d never heard of Satilla Shores. I thought it was somewhere else.”
Said none of the discussions were about guilt or innocence. “It was: ‘can you believe this is going on?' and 'I can’t believe they’re showing video.’”
“You can see a portion of the video and think you know the story.”
“Quite frankly I don’t believe anything the media produces at all.” Asked if he’s formed an opinion about how race factors into the case: “No sir.”
JUROR NO. 168
Appears to be a White female in her 50s, married. Works in retail. New to Brunswick, owns no firearms. Husband drives a pickup truck.
When asked about the case on juror questionnaire, responded, “Have not followed enough to form any opinion” and “I do not know enough about the case to form an opinion about anything.”
Said she has had "occasional, brief and general" conversations with family about what was in the news, but not a discussion of guilt or innocence.
Asked if the video left an impression, said no, "nothing that overly impressed me. It was a horrible situation as everyone thinks but nothing is ever as it seems to be. I take things with a grain of salt until proven otherwise."
“I don’t think the video is the whole story I think the video is part of the story. I think there is a lot to the story and that’s what [this case] is to find out.”
Said she can give fair and meaningful consideration to a self-defense claim. “I think that everybody is entitled to a fair trial. I think everybody is entitled to have their stories heard and be judged accordingly."
Does not have concerns about the aftermath of the verdict. Has not posted or liked anything online about the case.
Defense attorney Kevin Hogue notes her “sparse” responses. “We don’t know a lot about you. Is there anything else you think we should know about you that could affect your ability to be an impartial juror?”
“I don’t think so. I think that everybody is entitled to a fair trial. I think everybody is entitled to have their stories heard and be judged accordingly. As I said we don’t know the whole story until it is presented to us and we should not make judgments about things we don’t know everything about.”
“A lot of things aren’t the way they seem in the news media and we have to take the facts as we know them, and I believe in the justice system.”
JUROR NO. 234
Appears to be a white woman in her 20s or 30s. Has close friends in law enforcement, owns a gun, is self-employed.
Doesn’t know much about the case other than headlines on Facebook and bumper stickers saying, “I run with Ahmaud.” She said her husband has tried to talk with her about the case, but she hasn’t engaged. “I go out of my way not to read news or politics,” she said. “I would rather spend my energy elsewhere.”
Has some concerns about how polarizing the case has been in Glynn County. “I think it would be naïve to think there couldn’t be real world repercussions.”
“No matter what direction it goes, people will be upset.”
That fear wouldn’t stop her from weighing the case fairly. “Do I think I can withstand that? Yes. And if called to serve, I will. I wouldn’t have willingly myself put in that position. [I would not have] raised [my] hand for it, but if called, I would do it.”
JUROR NO. 258
Appears to be a white male in his 60s. Law enforcement officer with three decades of experince, has close friends in law enforcement. Recognizes other jurors
Has witnessed a crime in progress, been a victim of burglary or home invasion, has had to call 911 to report a crime. Owns a gun, has non-military firearms training. Served on a jury before, has testified in court in the past.
Has seen the video of Arbery being shot on TV news about 10 times but has had little interest in learning more about the case. Says he can be fair and impartial.
“After doing this for so long, it’s really not shocking to me. … When you’ve seen the number of things I have, it’s just another case.”
JUROR NO. 380
Appears to be a Black man in his 60s. Has adult children, previously served on a jury, has relatives in local law enforcement and a close relative in prison.
Respects police but thinks Black people are treated differently.
Saw the cell phone video "about 3 times,” that's all he knows about the case. Said from the cell phone video it looks like the McMichaels had it planned. Thinks race played a role in what happened based on his life experience as a Black man. Told his son in Brunswick to be careful after learning of Ahmaud Arbery's death. Son knew Arbery, but not a close friend. Did not discuss the case with his relative in local law enforcement. Hasn’t followed the case beyond what he happens to see on the news. Barely on social media: “old school.”
Has not followed the news since his summons. Passed an Arbery rally after he received his summons. Defense asks, "what does justice for Ahmaud mean to you?" Juror 380 says it means that people want to right a wrong
Said he is still able to put what he saw aside and listen to the evidence and come to a fair conclusion.
(After he leaves, Roddie Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough says that when Juror No. 380 walked in, Ahmaud Arbery's father nodded at him. Said he is concerned it is a subtle gesture that encourages bias. The other attorneys said they did see the nod. The judge said he did not see it either.)
Defense moves to strike Juror 380 for cause and judge denies motion.
JUROR NO 496
Appears to be a white female in her 20s. Married, has a child. Will be moving out of Glynn County mid-trial.
“I would absolutely give the case my full attention. The problem would be more the closing date and having to sign in Georgia -- you have to be there to sign.”
Asked about her impression of the case, says it’s complex … There are a lot of different charges. With all the information that I’ve heard, and it happened so long ago that I don’t remember what the actual facts are compared to the things that I’ve heard.”
Described incident on juror questionnaire: “Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in Satilla Shores. He went into a home. Owner was not there and had asked the father McMichael to watch the home, and when he saw Arbery told his son to get his gun. They asked him to stop. He continued to run. … They had a struggle, they went out of the video [frame] for a minute and the they come back and Arbery was shot.”
Asked about watching the video. “I did see the video, it was blurry. …It was an obscene video. I clearly remember seeing Arbery fall.”
Asked why she describes it as obscene: “Someone died. There’s no reason someone should ever have to see someone else die.”
Added, “I wouldn’t want to see it again but if I had to watch it [as a juror] I would.”
Does not watch news. “The only articles I see are from Epoch Times.”
“I don’t particularly want to be on the jury. … I would absolutely do my best to be objective.”
Prosecutors move for a cause strike citing concerns about the juror residency requirement, but judge denies. Juror is qualified.
JUROR NO. 580
Appears to be a white woman in her 60s. Has lived in Glynn County less than 5 years, has firearms training, medical background, adult children.
Asked if she’s discussed the case with friends or family says “I have no friends or family down here and I was traveling and actually found out that something happened here. And that was about it.”
“I don’t really have time to watch the news. Don’t listen to it. I guess I would have to say I don’t know much about it”
“I’ve never been a person that judges anything without hearing everything involved in it. I think it was my work background that taught me that.”
Says she is concerned about safety. “Yes, to be honest, safety is a factor. I live very close to here. And if I may be blunt, the state of everything right now, not just in regards to this case, but the state of the world right now, has everyone on edge. So I would fear of being followed home, someone finding out. I haven’t told anybody that I do work with what’s going on, because I just don’t want anybody to know.”
Isn’t concerned about a particular verdict? “No, it would be more about anyone finding out that I was a juror and harassing afterward.”
Said she can set that aside to serve. “I could set it aside, but it would always be in the very back of my mind.”
No motions, Juror 580 is qualified.
JUROR NO. 195
Appears to be a white woman in her 60s, has lived in Glynn County for just over a year. Jovial, cracks a few jokes. Asked her age responds, “too old.”
Has not seen the video, doesn’t watch a lot of news. Wants to sit on this jury. Became a U.S. citizen several years ago and says, “This is sort of a civic duty I can do. I donate blood and can sit on a jury.”
Somewhat nervous to serve because it’s a big case, but says she’s thought about it and she thinks she can do it.
Says case makes her think “about Rodney King and Breonna Taylor and all of those stories.” Adds, “Seems to me it was race related. They were white, it was a predominately white neighborhood and he was Black.”
“I truly believe not all cops are bad, but some are not so nice”
Defense attorney Bob Rubin: What about you makes you think you can be a good juror?
A: “I’m honest. I’m not radical either way.”
Defense attorney Bob Rubin: Are you comfortable debating your opinions?”
Potential juror: “In a jury room yes. This (referencing the voir dire) is horrible, but in a room with a few people I’m fine.”
Doesn’t have friends here, doesn’t know anyone.
Rubin asks how she got a negative opinion of Travis McMichael if she doesn’t watch news. She struggles to answer this, says she’s heard the news some. Finally says, “Look, I live in Glynn County, there’s buildings/murals painted...I’m having trouble answering the question.”
Defense attorney Kevin Gough if she’s a “Never Trumper?" She responds, "Is that relevant? I’m just asking."
Gough: “Well, at least one lawyer thinks it’s relevant.”
A: “Yes I would identify as that.”
Has negative feelings toward the defendants but could base her verdict on evidence presented during trial. Will consider defenses including self-defense and citizen's arrest law.
Says she can be a good jury member because she is not radical in either direction: “I’m honest and don’t have too many options one way or another.”
JUROR NO. 274
Appears to be a white woman, 50s, married with three children. Has lived in Glynn County “on and off” since 1994.
Has gleaned what she knows about the case from national news. “Chuckle at the nonsense online,” she says. “It’s all theories and speculation.”
Has a negative view of the McMichaels. “I wouldn’t be friends with them they’re not my kind of people,” she said.
Pressed about that by the defense attorneys says, “Because they’ve been accused of a crime it’s kind of scary. It’s a fear thing. I’m fearful of them, I guess.”
She adds for emphasis: “They’re driving around with a gun!”
Still, she said, “Everybody deserves a fair trial.”
Says she’s willing to give consideration to defense arguments. “I’d want somebody to do that for me.”
Can’t think of a reason why she can’t be fair and impartial.
Owns a handgun. Once had to fire a gun to scare off a home intruder, but says that will have no effect on her ability as juror. Doesn’t think there should be automatic weapons, should be more background checks
“I don’t think people who have guns are monitored enough.”
Believes law enforcement treats white and Black people differently. “I think it’s more than a trend thing I think it’s really true.”
Asked if she’s open to a citizen’s arrest defense: “There’s always that possibility. ….Yes, I would be fair. Everything is a possibility whatever the outcome.”
After getting her jury summons, she researched the process of being a juror, the responsibilities, caught news at night about the case and protests.
Asked if she walked past protesters outside the courthouse, said: “There was nobody there this morning. … That’s their right; they can do that, as long as they don’t get in my face.”
Asked if she thinks race might be issue in the case: “Probably, but I can’t read their minds, I wouldn’t know,” she said.
Has no opinion as to guilt/innocence of Bryan. Asked if she could be friends with him: “Just completely different lifestyles. Our paths would never cross.”
“I do believe that everybody deserves a fair trial.”
JUROR NO. 281
Appears to be a white woman in her 20s or 30s. Moved to Brunswick after Arbery was shot.
“If somebody happens to share something on Facebook, I’ll see the headline there; I don’t actively seek out news.” Has talked a bit about the case with parents and husband. She Just knows that these men shot and Arbery.
“… if that makes us sound like bad citizens! I’m just not one to look into the news.” She had never heard of Arbery case until she told people she was moving to Brunswick.
Thinks she would be a fair juror. Says yes in calm, unflustered way to all variants of that question.
Does not own a gun, but doesn’t have strong negative opinions about guns or gun owners.
JUROR NO. 282
Appears to be a white woman in her 60s. Married with three children and owns a couple of guns.
“I’ve real mixed feelings about this whole case. I wasn’t here when it happened, I was on vacation, and I was gone for like a month. I don’t know if we ever know what really happened, I think there’s I just think there’s always two sides to everything.”
Doesn’t have time to watch a lot of TV; think she’s seen the cellphone video two or three times. “I just wonder why they didn’t call a cop instead of doing what they did.” The negative feelings are directed at all three. She could set aside all that and consider defenses.
“I’ve tried not to pay attention to this case. I really didn’t think I’d be here, so I didn’t pay that much attention,” she says. Of her husband: “He could care less about the cases we were too wrapped up in the politics last year.” Says she was disappointed in the outcome of 2020 election, but not the 2016 election.
Asked if race played a role in shooting: “I would assume that,” she says cautiously/uncertainly. “I don’t know why I have that. I’m just assuming that.”
Does not talk about the case. “I just have some friends that have really strong opinions about it, so we just don’t talk about it.”
Wonders: “Why didn’t someone call the police?”
Believes she can be impartial. “Oh, I can be fair,” she says.