Maddy’s statements put her at the opposite end of the spectrum from another juror who remained anonymous but gave a television interview last week to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. That juror, B-37, said she and two others were ready to acquit at the start of deliberations, felt Trayvon contributed to his own death and expressed a deep amount of sympathy for Zimmerman, at points referring to him by his first name.
But the two jurors ultimately agreed then and now on the same fact: Florida’s controversial self-defense laws and the lack of solid evidence made it almost impossible to convict Zimmerman.
“If members of the jury found the instructions so confusing to where they reached the wrong verdict, then they should join the efforts to amend the Stand Your Ground laws,’’ Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon’s parents, said after Maddy’s comments were made public Thursday.
Both the shooting and not-guilty verdict have become flash points in the latest national debate about guns and, particularly, Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law that allows defendants to more easily use lethal force in some situations instead of retreating. Months after the shooting, Gov. Rick Scott commissioned a committee to review Stand Your Ground. The committee returned with a few minor suggestions, leaving the law largely intact.
The exact role of Stand Your Ground in this case, however, is unclear. The law’s wording appeared in the jury instructions, which one Zimmerman defense attorney called “fine” after partly reading it aloud in court. Juror B-37 twice mentioned on CNN that Stand Your Ground was part of the deliberations.
Two days after the verdict, B-37 gave the interview and said she and her husband, an attorney, were writing a book, a plan that was later scrapped after social media pressure. Days later, four of the remaining jurors issued a statement distancing themselves from B-37.
Since the trial, Maddy said she has worried that she had made the wrong decision. Or even if there should ever have been a trial.
“I felt like I let a lot of people down, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Did I go the right way? Did I go the wrong way?’ ” she said. “As much as we were trying to find this man guilty . . . they give you a booklet that basically tells you the truth, and the truth is that there was nothing that we could do about it,” she said. “I feel the verdict was already told.”
She also wrestles with the Martin family’s loss of a child. “It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death,’’ she said tearfully. “And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much [as] Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain.”
The interview was shown on ABC World News and Nightline and will air Friday morning on Good Morning America.
Miami Herald staff writer Marc Caputo contributed to this story.