The six-member jury that acquitted George Zimmerman did not believe race played a role in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the first juror to speak publicly about the trial said Monday night.
The juror, identified only as Juror B37, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she and the other jurors believed the screaming voice captured on a 911 recording belonged to Zimmerman, and lent little credibility to a key witness who spoke to Trayvon on the phone before he died. They also put limited faith in the testimony provided by Trayvon’s parents.
“They said anything a mother and father would say,” said the juror, who said she wanted to keep her identity secret and was almost invisible in deep shadow.
Juror B37 said she believed Trayvon was the aggressor — and added she had “no doubt” that Zimmerman feared for his life during the confrontation in a Sanford housing complex.
“I think his heart was in the right place,” she said of Zimmerman. “It just went terribly wrong.”
“Do you think he’s guilty of something?” Cooper pressed.
“I think he’s guilty of not using good judgment,” she responded.
Zimmerman, the juror said, was “overeager to help people.” She added that she believed he was “was pretty consistent and told the truth” to investigators.
Although Juror B37 said she was sympathetic to Zimmerman throughout the trial, she said the jury was initially divided. Three members of the all-female jury wanted to find Zimmerman not guilty, two believed a manslaughter verdict was appropriate, and one supported a finding of second-degree murder.
All six members found the law to be “very confusing,” she said.
But after reading the definitions of second-degree murder and manslaughter “over and over,” the jurors reached consensus.
“He had a right to defend himself,” Juror B37 said of Zimmerman. “If he felt threatened, that his life was going to be taken away for him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right.”
Before ending her interview with Cooper, Juror B37 broke down in tears.
“I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict,” she said. “We didn’t just go in there and say, we’re going to do guilty/not guilty. We thought about it for hours and cried over it afterwards. I don’t think any of us could ever do anything like that ever again.”
What is known about Juror B37 came from her comments as she was being interviewed by both sides before trial began, that she is middle-aged, has two grown children, once had a license to carry a concealed weapon and worked for a chiropractor for 16 years.
The judge in the case has said the clerk’s office will not make public the names of the jurors for a matter of months, but that doesn’t ban jurors speaking out.
Despite keeping her identity secret, Juror B37 has already secured an agent to peddle an as-yet unwritten book.
The woman’s literary agent, Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management in Washington state, released a statement Monday saying Juror B37 had contacted her after being approached by multiple media outlets for appearances.
Juror B37’s comments on CNN stood in sharp contrast to interviews with civil rights leaders, who on Monday intensified their calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to file federal civil-rights violation charges against Zimmerman.