BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The judge canceled jury selection Friday in the high-profile trial of three Georgia men charged with murder in Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man's death.
The judge said an attorney on the case had a personal obligation. As the first week of jury selection in the trial wrapped up, finding an impartial jury is proving to be difficult.
"As a family, everybody is praying," Thea Brooks, Arbery's aunt, said.
"We are just really praying, praying hard, pushing through these times together. The support of the community, the people who've been here all week, who've been supporting us, it has just been a blessing," Brooks said.
So far, 23 potential jurors have qualified to get to the magic number of 64 needed to then narrow the pool down to 12 jurors and four alternates. Some of those selected know key players in the case. That's not surprising, Brooks said, in an area as small as Glynn County.
"Brunswick is a small community. Everyone knows everyone. So, it's hard to find a jury that doesn't or a juror that doesn't have some type of bias towards this case," she said.
According to Brooks, the family is concerned about one potential juror who qualified Thursday. That potential juror said she worked with Gregory McMichael and has known him for decades. She also said in court, "I don’t want to be a distraction and be a problem for a case that’s already caused problems in our community."
That potential juror also supported former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson in her failed re-election campaign last year.
“My concern is that I feel like they're still trying to do some type of injustice. There's still some injustice we're facing with the jury," Brooks said.
"There was a gentleman [another potential juror] who gave a thumbs up and immediately they struck him, because my brother nodded back as to acknowledge the gentleman who was walking out, and this lady was still able to be on the jury or even be qualified after all of these things," she said. "The gentleman who walked out of the courtroom the other day was an African American man, and this lady is a white lady. So, it just kind of makes you wonder, what's really going on in this picture," she said.
Brooks said she is optimistic, though, that they can find an impartial jury in Glynn County.
"I'm praying that next week, we will get to that number of 64 that they're looking for, and then we can go from there," she said.
The judge said Thursday night that jury selection could last two more weeks. The process resumes Monday morning.