Zimmerman 'got away with murder': Juror
26 July 2013, 12:38
Miami - The only non-white juror on the six-woman panel that acquitted US neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin says he "got away with murder".
But in a Good Morning America exclusive interview, to air on Thursday night and Friday morning on US network ABC, the Puerto Rican woman said she could not find Zimmerman guilty of murder under the law as she understood it.
"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," the 36-year-old woman said. "We had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."
The woman, identified only as Juror B-29 during the trial and as Maddy in the interview, has eight children and was selected for the trial five months after moving to Florida from Chicago.
She said that after the controversial verdict, she feels she owes an apology to the parents of Martin, who was shot dead in a gated community in Sanford, Florida after buying candy and iced tea.
"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.
Fought to the end
But she stressed that, based on the instructions the jury got from Judge Deborah Nelson, she felt she couldn't convict.
"I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end," she 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."
Zimmerman has admitted to shooting Martin, but insisted it was in self-defence after the teen wrestled him to the ground and pounded his head against the sidewalk.
Zimmerman was following Martin on suspicion the teen was involved in robberies in the neighbourhood, and the killing sparked outrage over racial profiling and lax US gun laws.
"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.
She said the trial was "a publicity stunt", because she believes Florida laws provided no opportunity to convict.
An initial decision by Florida investigators not to press charges in the case set off widespread protests, with Martin's supporters alleging racism and pointing to the fact that the teenager was unarmed and had no criminal record.
The incident was widely covered by the national media, and also ignited debate over the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows the use of firearms in self-defence even when it is possible to flee.