Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Zimmerman 'got away with murder'

A juror in George Zimmerman's trial said there was not enough evidence to convict him under Florida law (AP/Orange County Jail via The Miami Herald)

A juror in the trial of neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has said she feels he got away with murder for fatally shooting teenager Trayvon Martin, but that there was not enough evidence at trial to convict him under Florida law.

Mr Zimmerman was acquitted earlier this month of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges over the 2012 death of the unarmed 17-year-old. The Miami teenager was shot dead during a confrontation with Mr Zimmerman. The case spawned heated national debates about racial profiling and the so-called 'stand your ground' self-defence laws in Florida and other states.

Juror B29 told ABC News that she favoured convicting Mr Zimmerman of second-degree murder when the six-member, all-woman jury began its deliberations. "I was the juror that was going to give them a hung jury. I fought to the end," she said.

But by the second day of deliberating, she realised there was not enough proof to convict the 29-year-old neighbourhood watch volunteer of a crime. She said: "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."

Mr Zimmerman was seen publicly for the first time last week when he assisted a family after their vehicle overturned on a Florida highway.

Juror B29 is the second panellist to go public with what went on during deliberations earlier this month. She allowed her face to be shown and used her first name, Maddy, unlike Juror B37, who was interviewed on CNN last week with her face obscured.

Four jurors, not including the one interviewed by ABC, issued a statement last week saying the opinions expressed by Juror B37 to CNN's Anderson Cooper did not represent their views. That juror said the actions of Mr Zimmerman and Trayvon both led to the teenager's fatal shooting, but that Mr Zimmerman did not actually break the law.

Juror B29 also told ABC that she did not believe race was an issue at the trial. Though the judge so far has refused to release the names or biographical information about the jurors, B29 said she is 36 years old and Puerto Rican.

Trayvon was black and Mr Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic. Trayvon's parents believe Mr Zimmerman racially profiled their son when he started following him after spotting him walking through the area where Mr Zimmerman lived and the teenager was visiting.

Juror B29 said she feels as though she owes Trayvon's parents an apology. She said: "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?' 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."

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