Mistake made by county court could lead to mistrial in Ahmaud Arbery case

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In this May 17, 2020, photo, a recently painted mural of Ahmaud Arbery is on display in Brunswick, Ga., where the 25-year-old man was shot and killed in February. It was painted by Miami artist Marvin Weeks. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan) Sarah Blake/AP

The Georgia county court where the three alleged murderers of Ahmaud Arbery are on trial mistakenly exposed potential jurors to suppressed evidence, including the 25-year-old black jogger's mental health history, which a judge banned from the trial.

If any of the potential jurors see the suppressed evidence, they could be tossed from the jury pool, Vice News reported.

The evidence on the court's website also included how many times defendants Greg and Travis McMichael used their firearms as well as the Confederate flag vanity plate on the back of Travis McMichael's truck.

"We are aware of that [website] issue, and the decision about that will be made by the judge," Glynn County Superior Court Clerk Ronald Adams said.

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If a jury candidate were to read the information, it would disqualify them from sitting on the jury. If the person still somehow was chosen for the jury, it could be grounds for a mistrial.

Wednesday is the third day of jury selection in the high-profile case. On Tuesday, both prosecutors and defense attorneys struggled with finding someone both sides could agree on.

One would-be panelist said he was "sick of it" when asked about his opinion of the case that has dominated national headlines.

Several potential candidates have already expressed concern for their safety if they are picked to serve.

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In all, nearly 1,000 possible jurors are expected to be considered for the 12-person jury. Six hundred showed up on Monday.

The McMichaels are accused of arming themselves and going after Arbery, who was jogging through their Satilla Shores neighborhood near the port city of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. Father and son chased and cornered Arbery before opening fire, the case alleges. Also standing trial is William "Roddie" Bryan, a neighbor who joined in and took a cellphone video of Travis McMichael allegedly fatally shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun. The men are charged with nine counts each, including malice murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault.

The McMichaels told police that they used pickup trucks to keep Arbery from leaving their neighborhood. They claimed he was stealing and that security cameras in an open-framed house under construction had previously caught him on tape. Prosecutors as well as investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation strongly rejected the accusations and alleged race was the top factor in the incident.

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Arbery's death was only investigated after footage from the incident was leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation became involved. The shooting and the alleged cover-up dominated national headlines and was part of a larger racial reckoning that included the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

The McMichaels and Bryan have also been charged with federal hate crimes. That trial is slated to start in February.

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Tags: News, Georgia, hate crime, murder, courts, State Courts, Federal Courts, Race, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd

Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty

Original Location: Mistake made by county court could lead to mistrial in Ahmaud Arbery case