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Zimmerman trial: 4 jurors say Juror B37 does not speak for them

July 16, 2013|By Devin Kelly and Matt Pearce | This post has been updated, as indicated below.
  • George Zimmerman during his trial in Sanford, Fla.
George Zimmerman during his trial in Sanford, Fla. (Joe Burbank / Pool Photo )

A day after one juror in the George Zimmerman murder trial spoke out on national television, four other members of the six-woman jury released a statement separating themselves from her comments.

In their statement to CNN on Tuesday night, the jurors defended their roles in the trial.

“We, the undersigned jurors, understand there is a great deal of interest in this case. But we ask you to remember that we are not public officials and we did not invite this type of attention into our lives," the jurors wrote.

"We also wish to point out that the opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show, were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below."

The jurors' identities have not been revealed; they were identified in court by letters and numbers.


FOR THE RECORD:
Zimmerman jurors: An article in the July 17 LATExtra section about jurors in the George Zimmerman trial reported that Juror B37 said she knew Trayvon Martin had thrown the first punch at Zimmerman. Actually, the juror said in an interview, "I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him."

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday, Juror B37 said the panel was initially divided on Zimmerman’s guilt in the death of Trayvon Martin, but worked through the evidence to reach a unanimous verdict. A couple of the jurors "wanted to find him guilty of something," the juror said.

She said she thought Zimmerman had been driven to recklessness in pursuing Martin by a string of burglaries in his Sanford, Fla., neighborhood, but also thought that Martin could have walked away from the confrontation.

“I think both could have walked away; it just didn’t happen," the juror told Cooper, her face shadowed in the darkened studio. "It’s very emotional."

Zimmerman shot Martin to death in February 2012 in a gated neighborhood in Sanford. Martin, who was visiting his father and his father's fiancee, had gone to a convenience store to get candy and an iced tea. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, spotted him and called police to report a suspicious person. Eventually, Zimmerman got out of his vehicle, a confrontation ensued, and Martin wound up dead.

There were no witnesses to the confrontation, but Juror B37 said she knew Martin had thrown the first punch. Asked whether she felt sorry for Martin, she said: "I feel sorry for both of them. I feel sorry for Trayvon and the situation he was in, and I feel sorry for George because of the situation he got himself in.”

When she said why she came forward, the juror began to cry.

“I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict," the juror said. "We didn’t just go in there and say we’re going to come in here and do guilty, not guilty. We thought about it for hours and cried over it afterward. I don’t think any of us could do anything like that ever again.”

A literary agent had announced earlier Monday that Juror B37 would write a book about her experiences, but the deal has been dropped. 

On Tuesday, Cooper aired more excerpts of his interview with B37, who said she was 101% sure the jury did the right thing. Martin, she said, “played a huge role in his death,” but she extended her condolences to his parents.

“I feel bad that we can't give them the verdict that they wanted, but legally, we could not do that,” she said.

The other four jurors also cited Florida law. "Serving on this jury has been a highly emotional and physically draining experience for each of us,” the statement signed by Jurors B51, B76, E6 and E40 said. “The death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts, but in the end we did what the law required us to do.”

[Updated, 10:30 p.m. July 16: This post has been updated to include more comments from Juror B37, which CNN aired Tuesday night, and more from the other four jurors' statement.]

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devin.kelly@latimes.com

Twitter: @devckelly

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