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Jury selection begins in trial of 3 Georgia men in murder of Ahmaud Arbery

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Jury selection begins in trial of 3 Georgia men in murder of Ahmaud Arbery
Travis McMichael was arrested on May 7, 2020, and charged with the murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga. Photo courtesy the Glynn County Detention Center/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of three White men accused of chasing down and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery as he was jogging through their neighborhood last year.

The defendants in the case -- Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan -- have been charged with malice murder and false imprisonment, among other charges. The case, which spurred national outrage due mainly to a graphic video of the shooting, taken by Bryan, led to anti-racism and civil rights protests across the United States.

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Prosecutors say Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020, in a Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood. The McMichaels and Bryan said they pursued Arbery and attempted to make a citizen's arrest, believing that he'd burglarized homes in the area.

About 1,000 residents of Glynn County have been tabbed for jury selection in the case. It will ultimately be narrowed to 12, plus a couple of alternates. Jury selection is being held at a recreation center in Brunswick to allow for COVID-19 distancing.

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The defendants are expected to argue during the trial that they're protected by Georgia's citizen arrest law and that they acted in self-defense when Arbery attempted to disarm one of them.

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial has taken issue with that position.

"I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran till he couldn't run anymore, and it was, turn his back to a man with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun. He chose to fight," Dial said at a pretrial hearing, according to CNN.

RELATED Three men charged with federal hate crimes in killing of Ahmaud Arbery

"I believe Mr. Arbery's decision was to just try to get away, and when he felt like he could not escape, he chose to fight."

The McMichaels and Bryan were initially released from the scene of Arbery's death and the case was idle for months as two prosecutors recused themselves from the case because of their connection with Greg McMichaels, a former police officer.

The men were later arrested within days of the release of video footage of the shooting.

RELATED Judge denies bond to father, son in Ahmaud Arbery death

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