(SANFORD, Fla.) — Four members of the six-woman jury that found George Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin said Tuesday they do not share the opinions that a fifth juror in the case expressed in a TV interview.
A juror identified only by her anonymous court ID of B37 and her face and body hidden in deep shadow said Monday on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show, AC360, 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.
Four other jurors, identified only by their court numbers — B-51, B-76, E-6, and E-40 — on Tuesday night released a statement through the Florida Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Court, distancing themselves from B37’s remarks.
“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,” they said. “We also wish to point out that the opinions of Juror B-37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below.”
They indicated that reaching the not guilty verdict, which has ignited a storm of criticism and sparked protests in cities across the country, was not an easy decision.
“Serving on this jury has been a highly emotional and physically draining experience for each of us,” they wrote. “The death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts but in the end we did what the law required us to do. We appeal to the highest standards of your profession and ask the media to respect our privacy and give us time to process what we have been through.”
Zimmerman, 29, was found not guilty in the death of Martin late Saturday night. Zimmerman was accused of second-degree murder for shooting Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. He said from the beginning that he had shot Martin in self-defense.
In her interview, B37 said that when deliberations began, three of the women were for acquittal, two were for manslaughter and one was leaning towards convicting Zimmerman of second degree murder, a charge that could have put Zimmerman in prison for the rest of his life had he been found guilty of it.
Over the next 15 hours of deliberations the jurors came to the conclusion that Zimmerman had shot Martin in self-defense and voted to acquit him of the charges.
“I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhood and wanting to catch these people so badly he went above and beyond what he should have done,” she said.
“But I think his heart was in the right place,” she said. “It just went terribly wrong.”
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Sara Stewart, CNN
David Williams, CNN
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN