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Juror: Zimmerman had right to defend himself

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:59 p.m. HST, Jul 15, 2013

MIAMI >> A juror in the George Zimmerman trial said today that the actions of the neighborhood watch volunteer and Trayvon Martin both led to the teenager's fatal shooting last year, but that Zimmerman didn't actually break the law.

The woman known as Juror B37 told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Zimmerman made some poor decisions leading up to the shooting, but that Martin wasn't innocent either.

"I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into," said the juror, who is planning to write a book about the trial. "I think they both could have walked away."

The juror said Sanford Police Detective Chris Serino made a big impression on her, because he would have been accustomed to dealing with murders and similar cases. He would have known how to spot a liar, and yet he testified that he believed Zimmerman, the juror said.

Legal analysts agreed that Serino's testimony was a blow to the state's case.

The juror was not impressed by the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, who was talking with Martin by cellphone moments before he was fatally shot by Zimmerman in February, 2012.

"I didn't think it was very credible, but I felt very sorry for her," the juror said. "She didn't want to be there."

The juror also commented on defense attorney Don West's knock-knock joke about knowing who Zimmerman was during opening statements.

"The joke was horrible. Nobody got it," she said.

The interview came two days after the six-woman jury acquitted Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch activist, of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Martin was black, and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic. Zimmerman was not arrested for 44 days, and the delay in charging him led to protests from those who believed race was a factor in the handling of the case.

While prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling Martin, Zimmerman maintained he acted in self-defense.

The juror said she didn't think Martin's race was the reason that Zimmerman followed him. She said she also believed Martin threw the first punch and that Zimmerman, whom she referred to as "George," had a right to defend himself.

"I have no doubt George feared for his life in the situation he was in at the time," the juror said.

Juror B37 also outlined to CNN the process she and the other five jurors went through in their deliberations. She said they spent the first day electing a foreman and getting organized. She said the jury instructions weren't immediately clear and the evidence was in no order whatsoever.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, but the jury also was allowed to consider manslaughter.

Based on an initial vote, three — including B37 — were in favor of acquittal, two wanted manslaughter and one wanted second-degree murder. She said the jury started going through all the evidence, listening to tapes multiple times.

"That's why it took us so long," B37 said.

When they started looking at the law, the person who initially wanted second-degree murder changed her vote to manslaughter, the juror said. Then they asked for clarification from the judge and kept going over it again and again. B37 said some jurors wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something, but there was just no place to go based on the law,

B37 said jurors cried when they gave their final vote to the bailiff.

"I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict," said the juror, who appeared to become emotional during the interview.

"We thought about it for hours and cried over it afterwards," she said. "I don't think any of us could ever do anything like that ever again."

Martin Literary Management announced today that it is representing B37 and her husband, who is an attorney. The names of the jurors have not been released, but during jury selection it was disclosed that B37 works in an unspecified management position and has two adult children.

In a statement, Martin Literary said the book would focus on what it is like to be sequestered and why B37 felt she had no choice but to acquit Zimmerman. The agency said it is approaching several publishers.

In a separate interview, Jeantel was asked by CNN's Piers Morgan whether she thought race was a factor in Zimmerman's decision to follow Martin prior to their fight.

"It was racial," she said. "Let's be honest. Racial. If he were white, if Trayvon was white and he had a hoodie on, what would happen?"

She noted that the altercation happened in the early evening, when many people are out walking their dogs or doing other things.

Morgan played back a recording of the juror's comments about Jeantel's education level and speech, and the witness said it made her sad and angry. Jeantel, who is black, said she also had a feeling that the jury would return a not-guilty verdict.

"They're white," she said of the jury at one point. "Well, one Hispanic. But she's stuck in the middle. I had a feeling it was going to be a 'not guilty.'"

While the court did not release the racial makeup of the jury, the panel appeared to reporters covering jury selection to be made up of five white women and a sixth who may be Hispanic.

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st1d wrote:
justice prevailed and it determined that zimmerman was not guilty.

the same groups of people that rushed to judgement against zimmerman and forced the florida prosecutors to overcharge zimmerman are now rushing to seek vengence and looking more like a lynch mob than lovers of justice.

on July 15,2013 | 06:43PM
localboieastside wrote:
As expected in L.A this evening, there were Trayvon supporters clashed with the LAPD - damaging cars, assaulting people, property damage etc. I bet these media channels who was fueling the anger are now happy what 's been happening in L.A and Oakland.
on July 15,2013 | 06:55PM
honokai wrote:
The word they are all using is "narrative". Their belief system is based on creating stories to sell a view point. There is no truths in their world. There is just winning the battle of the "narrative". The verdict is a mere setback for them. Reality and truth is not important to them. They need to just keep selling the "narrative". Fortunately, there is a lot of us that are just not buying their "narrative". We find them to be intellectually and morally corrupt.
on July 15,2013 | 07:07PM
RichardCory wrote:
Deep, man.
on July 15,2013 | 09:05PM
hikine wrote:
Seems like this juror is in it for the money. The whole thing could've been avoided if Zimmerman just observed Martin's action and waited for the police instead of going after him. He was a neighborhood watch volunteer and took the law into his hands!
on July 15,2013 | 07:29PM
hanalei395 wrote:
This juror knew that with a verdict of "not guilty", the Zimmerman case would still be in the news for a while, with protest marches, demostrations, more trials with civil suits against Zimmerman, etc. ... Still be in the news when her book comes out.
on July 15,2013 | 08:07PM
jayz43 wrote:
IMHO, the escalation to Zimmerman drawing his weapon and shooting Martin (in self-defense) would never have happened if Martin didn't decide to circle back and confront Zimmerman, then sucker-punch him in the face, knocking him to the ground then pummel him and his head into the sidewalk, which immediately escalated the confrontation. Martin was the aggressor.
on July 15,2013 | 08:49PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Zimmerman was the stupid fool who ignored the 911 dispatcher.
on July 15,2013 | 09:43PM
thepartyfirst wrote:
He had a right to defend himself.
on July 15,2013 | 11:49PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
He was being followed by someone in an unfamiliar neighborhood. He was likely scared and thought he was in danger of being jacked by some hispanic guy. Zimmerman caused the problem by "stalking" this kid. It pushed him to act in his own self defense which ironically allowed Zimmerman to kill him legally. Zimmerman was armed and looking for criminals to take down, Police instructed him to back off but clearly he was out to do more than just call 911. If I were in an unfamiliar city and being stalked by a hispanic guy, I too would think this guy was out to hurt me. 2 choices - fight or run.
on July 15,2013 | 09:58PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
All white jury - why would the prosecutor accept that in such a racially charged case. They have no one to blame but themselves.
on July 15,2013 | 09:46PM
mogainhawaii wrote:
Why haven't the 11,000 plus blacks that were murdered by other blacks within the 513 days of the Zimmerman ordeal been blown up in the media. Why aren't people enraged about those murders. The race card gets played too many times. More blacks kill blacks than any other race.
on July 16,2013 | 01:36AM
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