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Friday ends qualifying jurors for next round of questioning in federal hate crimes trial for Ahmaud Arbery's killers

As of Thursday, about 10 percent, or 14 members of the jury pool are Black. The state trial had just one Black juror on the final panel.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Friday could be the last day of qualifying potential jurors before opening statements begin early next week in the federal hate crime trial for the men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.

By the end of the fourth day of jury selection, 57 potential jurors had qualified to move to the next round of questioning next week out of 135 people attorneys and the judge have questioned since Monday. 

That's about 42 percent of all of those questioned have moved on to the next round, and right in the judge's goal range.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood wanted between 50 and 60 qualified jurors in place before they narrow that down to 12 jurors and four alternates, using strikes from both sides. She upgraded that number earlier this week from 36 due to potential COVID concerns. 

Thursday, Wood said despite getting to 57 potential jurors qualified, they'll question two more groups of 15 each Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. 

RELATED: Nearly half of those questioned move on to next round after day three of jury selection in federal hate crimes trial for Ahmaud Arbery's killers

Wood said depending on how that goes, they may question more potential jurors Monday. 

If Wood chooses not to question more groups Monday, then they'll start to narrow down the pool to 12 jurors and four alternates that day.

Defense attorneys say they could hypothetically see opening statements starting Monday afternoon if they get the jury picked Monday morning. If not, opening statements would start Tuesday.

As of Thursday, about 10 percent, or 14 members of the pool are Black. The state trial had just one Black juror on the final panel.

Nearly half of the 24 potential jurors questioned Thursday said they have negative opinions about the defendants. Nine said they think all three are guilty. Most of them were excused.

RELATED: Arbery family says they were denied access to jury selection in federal hate crimes case

Friday Updates:

6:10 p.m.:

Done qualifying jurors for next round of questioning: 

We have pool to choose final panel from! 

-64 potential jurors move on to 2nd round of questioning Monday

-Court to narrow that down to 12 jurors, 4 alternates

-Opening statements start after jury chosen Monday

12:30 p.m.: 

Five more potential jurors have qualified for the next round of questioning next week. That brings the total to 62 (about 42% of all questioned), the judge wanted to get between 50 and 60 qualified jurors to choose the final panel of 12 jurors and 4 alternates. Second group today starts at 2 p.m. 

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