(NEW YORK) — The only minority on the all-female jury that voted to acquit George Zimmerman said Thursday that Zimmerman “got away with murder” for killing Trayvon Martin and feels she owes an apology to Martin’s parents.
“You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” said the woman who was identified only as Juror B29 during the trial. “But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence.”
She said the jury was following Florida law and the evidence, which she said, did not prove murder.
The court had sealed the jurors’ identities during the trial and still hasn’t lifted the order, but Juror B29 edged out of the shadows in an exclusive interview with ABC’s Good Morning America host Robin Roberts. She allowed her face to be shown, but — concerned for her safety — used only a first name of Maddy.
WATCH MORE OF THE INTERVIEW FRIDAY ON ABC’S GOOD MORNING AMERICA
The nursing assistant and mother of eight children was selected as a juror five months after she had moved from Chicago to Seminole County, Fla.
All six of the jurors were women and Maddy, 36, who is Puerto Rican, was the only minority to deliberate in the racially charged case. Zimmerman, 29, was a white Hispanic and Martin, 17, was black.
Despite the prosecution’s claim that Zimmerman profiled Martin because he was black, Maddy said the case was never about race to her, although she didn’t want to speak for her fellow jurors.
But her feelings about Zimmerman’s actions are clear.
“George Zimmerman got away with murder, but you can’t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he’s going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with,” Maddy said. “[But] the law couldn’t prove it.”
When the jury of six women — five of them mothers — began deliberations, Maddy said she favored convicting Zimmerman of second degree murder, which could have put him in prison for the rest of his life. The jury was also allowed to consider manslaughter, a lesser charge.
“I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end,” she said.
However, on the second day of deliberations, after spending nine hours discussing the evidence, Maddy said she realized there wasn’t enough proof to convict Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter under Florida law.
Zimmerman concedes he shot and killed Martin in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012, but maintains he fired in self-defense.
“That’s where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it,” Maddy said. “But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty.”
When asked by Roberts whether the case should have gone to trial, Maddy said, “I don’t think so.”
“I felt like this was a publicity stunt. This whole court service thing to me was publicity,” she said.
As a mother, Maddy said she has had trouble adjusting to life after the verdict, and has wrestled with whether she made the right decision.
“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.”
Maddy said she has sympathy for Martin’s parents and believes she, too, would continue the crusade for justice if this had happened to her son.
She said she believes she owes Trayvon Martin’s parents an apology because she feels “like I let them down.”
“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. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain,” she said.
Maddy is the second juror to speak in a televised interview, and the first to show her face.
Juror B37, whose face and body were hidden, appeared last week on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show, and said that she believes Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place” when he became suspicious of Martin and that the teenager probably threw the first punch.
Since then, four other jurors distanced themselves from B37’s remarks and released a statement saying B37’s opinions were “not in any way representative” of their own.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lina de Florias, CNN Newswire