Opening statements in Ahmaud Arbery trial set to begin

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(BRUNSWICK, Ga.) — The murder trial of three white Georgia men charged in the 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man prosecutors allege was “hunted down” and shot to death while out for a Sunday jog, is set to begin on Friday with opening statements.

The evidence portion of the high-profile case will kick off around 9 a.m. in Glynn County Superior Court in Brunswick, Georgia.

“I do feel like we’re getting closer to justice for Ahmaud day by day,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said in an interview scheduled to be broadcast Friday night on ABC’s Nightline.

The trial will begin under a cloud of controversy after a jury comprised of 11 white people and one Black person was selected on Wednesday, prompting an objection from prosecutors that the selection process, which took nearly three weeks, ended up racially biased.

On Thursday afternoon, one of the seated jurors, a white woman in her 40s or 50s, was dismissed from the panel for undisclosed medical issues. One of the alternate jurors, a white person, replaced her, bringing the number of alternates to three. All of the alternates are white.

The three defendants are Gregory McMichael, 65, a retired police officer; his son, Travis McMichael, 35; and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52.

The men have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

The McMichaels and Bryan were also indicted on federal hate crime charges in April and have all pleaded not guilty.

Arbery was out jogging on Feb. 23, 2020, through the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick when he was killed.

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