TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Crime & Courts

Zimmerman juror: He had right to defend himself

The Associated Press
Published:

View allPage 1 of 2

Page 2 of 2 | View all Previous page

MIAMI- A juror in the George Zimmerman trial said Monday that the actions of the neighborhood watch volunteer and Trayvon Martin both led to the teenager's fatal shooting last year, but that Zimmerman didn't actually break the law.

The woman known as Juror B37 told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Zimmerman made some poor decisions leading up to the shooting, but that Martin wasn't innocent either.

"I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into," said the juror, who is planning to write a book about the trial. "I think they both could have walked away."

The juror said Sanford Police Detective Chris Serino made a big impression on her, because he would have been accustomed to dealing with murders and similar cases. He would have known how to spot a liar, and yet he testified that he believed Zimmerman, the juror said.

Legal analysts agreed that Serino's testimony was a blow to the state's case.

The juror was not impressed by the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, who was talking with Martin by cellphone moments before he was fatally shot by Zimmerman in February 2012.

"I didn't think it was very credible, but I felt very sorry for her," the juror said. "She didn't want to be there."

The juror also commented on defense attorney Don West's knock-knock joke about knowing who Zimmerman was during opening statements.

"The joke was horrible. Nobody got it," she said.

The interview came two days after the six-woman jury acquitted Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch activist, of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin in a gated community in Sanford. Martin was black, and Zimmerman identified himself as Hispanic. Zimmerman was not arrested for 44 days, and the delay in charging him led to protests from those who believed race was a factor in the handling of the case.

While prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling Martin, Zimmerman maintained he acted in self-defense.

The juror said she believed Zimmerman, who she referred to as "George," had a right to defend himself.

Juror B37 also outlined to CNN the process she and the other five jurors went through in their deliberations. She said they spent the first day electing a foreman and getting organized. She said the jury instructions weren't immediately clear and the evidence was in no order whatsoever.

Based on an initial vote, three - including B37 - were in favor of acquittal, two wanted manslaughter and one wanted second-degree murder. She said the jury started going through all the evidence, listening to tapes multiple times.

"That's why it took us so long," B37 said.

When they started looking at the law, the person who initially wanted second-degree murder changed her vote to manslaughter. Then they asked for clarification from the judge and kept going over it again and again. B37 said some jurors wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something, but there was just no place to go based on the law,

B37 said jurors cried when they gave their final vote to the bailiff.

"I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict," said the juror, who appeared to become emotional during the interview.

"We thought about it for hours and cried over it afterwords," she said. "I don't think any of us could ever do anything like that ever again."

Martin Literary Management announced Monday that it is representing B37 and her husband, who is an attorney. The names of the jurors have not been released, but during jury selection it was disclosed that B37 works in an unspecified management position and has two adult children.

In a statement, Martin Literary said the book would focus on what it is like to be sequestered and why B37 felt she had no choice but to acquit Zimmerman. The agency said it is approaching several publishers.

View allPage 1 of 2

Page 2 of 2 | View all Previous page

Subscribe to The Tampa Tribune

Comments