One of the jurors who voted to acquit George Zimmerman of murder in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin believes Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place” when he became suspicious of Martin and that the teenager probably threw the first punch.
The juror, one of the six women on the panel, kept her anonymous court identity of B37 and asked that her face not be shown during her interview on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show, “AC360.”
The not guilty verdict has ignited a storm of criticism and sparked protests in cities across the country.
The woman, described as being in her 60s and the mother of two grown daughters, spoke on the same day that it was announced that she and her husband had agreed to write a book about her experience as a juror on the contentious case. Hours after the interview aired, Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management LLC told ABC News station KABC-TV in a statement that B37 will no longer pursue a book deal.
Through her agent B37 said, “I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before …”
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.
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.”
Zimmerman, 29, has been criticized for getting out of his car after he spotted Martin, 17, in his Sanford, Fla., neighborhood on Feb. 26, 2012, and called a non-emergency police number to report a suspicious person. The dispatcher asked Zimmerman to describe Martin and asked at one point, “What is he doing now?”
B37 said she believes the dispatcher “kind of egged him on.”
The juror conceded, “Nobody knows exactly what happened,” but she put the onus for the fight on Martin.
“Trayvon decided he wasn’t going to let him scare him and got the one-up on him. I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him,” she said.
The juror dismissed accusations by critics of the verdict that the fact that Martin was black played a significant role in Zimmerman’s suspicions and subsequent actions.
“I don’t think it did,” she said. “I think if there was another person — Spanish, white, Asian — if they came in the same situation Trayvon was I think George would have reacted the same way.”
The woman, who used to have a permit to carry a gun, backed the fact that Zimmerman, a licensed gun owner, was carrying a weapon.
“I think it’s everybody’s right to carry a gun as long as you are responsible and use it the way you should be using it,” she said.