SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Jury selection began Monday in the trial of the suspect in the July 4 weekend City Market violence almost three years ago.
The suspect is now 20-year-old Jerry Chambers. He has been been in jail since that deadly night in Savannah.
He faces three counts of felony murder, vehicular homicide, in addition to aggravated assault and gang charges. Surveillance video shows what appears to be gunfire coming from a white SUV before speeding off. Three people were hit by gunfire, all survived.
Police believe Chambers was driving that SUV. During a police chase, that SUV crashed at the intersection of Bay and Barnard Streets.
Witnesses told us that night they watched as the SUV sped down Bay toward Barnard Street, then lose control and crashed at the corner. One pedestrian, Scott Waldrup, was hit and killed on impact, and two people in the SUV, Spencer Stuckey and Gabriel Magulias also died in the crash.
Police pulled Jerry Chambers, 17 at the time, from the vehicle, saying in a police report that Chambers admitted to being the driver.
In the investigation that followed, police determined gang violence was what started the deadly night, and a grand jury indicted Chambers and several others on gang charges more than a year after the July 4 shootings and deadly crash.
Monday in court attorneys worked to pick an impartial jury. Right now, we’re in the jury selection phase, a task the court anticipates going into Tuesday, as dozens of potential jurors get interviewed by the prosecution and defense.
We’re not allowed to video the process, since some in the room will be eventually selected, and juror identity is protected. But some of the one-on-one questions when jurors were brought in individually focused on their knowledge of the case.
In most of the responses, the jurors said they knew about the violence that erupted downtown in July of 2017, mostly through news reports, family or co-workers. Jurors were then asked if they could put that previous knowledge aside and only consider the information presented in the courtroom in the coming days.
That’s the task at hand right now, to selected a panel the prosecutors and defense both believe will be impartial.
There have been several hearings and developments in this case since July of 2017, including a re-indictment of Chambers that added on gang charges in addition to the felony murder and vehicular homicide counts he already faced, among others.
The indication Monday morning was that the jury selection process will likely continue for a good portion of Tuesday, if not the whole day.
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