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Who is the judge presiding over the Ahmed Arbery murder trial?

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Who is the judge presiding over the Ahmed Arbery murder trial?

Georgia Superior Court judges presiding over the trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, one of the year’s most high-profile cases, usually oversee a courtroom about 80 miles away.

Savannah Judge Timothy R. Walmsley was tapped to preside over the Arbery case in 2020 after all five judges in Glynn County, Ga., recused themselves.

He appeared largely calm and patient throughout the trial, though twice he rebuked the lawyers arguing before him.

The judge described the statements of a defense attorney, Kevin Gough, as “reprehensible” after Mr Gough urged him to keep high-profile black priests out of the courtroom because Mr Gough claimed his presence was intimidating to the jury . Specifically, Judge Walmsley compared the Rev. Al Sharpton’s appearance in Mr. Gough’s courtroom to a scenario in which “a group of people came here with white masks like Colonel Sanders.”

Judge Walmsley repeatedly rejected Mr Gough’s request to ban Black clergy, as well as defense lawyers’ calls for a wrongful trial.

The judge also punished a prosecutor for asking a witness whether she believed someone who stole something deserved the death penalty. He called the question inflammatory, partisan and unnecessary, and directed the jury to disregard the question.

Mr Arbery’s murder, one of several cases that inspired racial-justice protests across the country in 2020, drew significant national attention in Judge Walmsley’s courtroom. Even before the trial began, protesters had gathered, demanding justice for Mr. Arbery. And when Mr. Gough complained about the presence of black clergy, several ministers called outside the courthouse in protest.

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Judge Walmsley himself drew attention by allowing an almost all-white jury to sit, criticizing some in the community who were already concerned about the fairness of the proceedings. Mr. Arbery was black; The accused in his death are white.

In 2012 Judge Walmsley was appointed to the state’s Eastern Judicial Circuit Superior Court by Nathan Deal. He previously served as a Chatham County magistrate and was a partner at the Savannah Law Firm, specializing in commercial and real estate litigation.

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