BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case want to question jurors individually about their exposure to the case and bar media from being present during those interrogations, according to new filings in the case.
Travis and Greg McMichael are charged with first-degree murder for allegedly chasing Arbery through their Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick and fatally shooting him. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, who joined the chase and recorded the incident on his cell phone, is also charged.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
The defense wants to ask prospective jurors whether they participated in demonstrations following Arbery's death, what slogans they may have chanted and whether they held signs with messages.
These special procedures are necessary, the defendants lawyers contend, because "the pretrial publicity and social media commentary about the case has been unprecedented, misinformation is staggering, and the emotions associated with the case range from heartbreaking to vitriolic."
The motion continues, "We must to everything we can to seek candid responses from the jurors without tainting the venire [jury pool]."
In addition to several filings regarding the jury selection process, the McMichaels' attorneys want to limit what they call "irrelevant evidence," including the number of firearms the father and son owned, the fact that they would often shoot the guns while on the river, and that a fragment of buckshot from the Arbery shooting was found lodged in a neighbor's home.
The defense filings come after the state filed dozens of motions to suppress evidence about Arbery's past run-ins with law enforcement and alleged mental illness.
Jury selection for the trial for three men is scheduled to begin Oct. 18
In April, a federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday against the three for one count each of hate crimes and attempted kidnapping charges.
The two McMichaels were also charged with separate counts of using firearms during a crime of violence.