A second juror in the George Zimmerman murder trial has decided to speak out regarding the jury's decision to acquit Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. "Maddy," a.k.a. Juror B29, told Good Morning America that even though she didn't convict him, "Zimmerman got away with murder" but "the law couldn't prove it." Maddy and her five fellow jurors found Zimmerman not guilty, but her interview may be proof that what went on in during deliberations is what many outsiders were theorizing: that even though what George Zimmerman did that February night when he killed Trayvon Martin might sound like a crime, the state did not have enough evidence to prove the death fits into the legal definition of manslaughter or murder.
Maddy, who is choosing to be identified only by first name, and her feelings on the case and Zimmerman, might infuriate people who believe she and her fellow jurors erred in their decision. Essentially, the argument would be that Maddy could have, if she felt so strongly, voted to convict Zimmerman. Maddy herself says:
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... [But] the law couldn't prove it.
But even though Maddy was convinced that George Zimmerman did something wrong when he killed Trayvon Martin that night, she explains that her hands were tied by the law:
That's where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it ... 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.
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," she added.
The jury, according to The Sanford Herald, was given these two parameters when they inquired about the manslaughter charge:
To prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. Trayvon Martin is dead.
2. George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.
In order to convict of manslaughter by act, it is not necessary for the State to prove that George Zimmerman had an intent to cause death, only an intent to commit an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable and which caused death.
Maddy claims she was trying to force a hung jury, but then came to the conclusion that there wasn't enough evidence to convict even though she was convinced Zimmerman committed a crime in killing Martin. And what Maddy is saying sounds like what some pundits and journalists have been saying about this case — that the prosecution didn't do enough to prove its case and were perhaps handicapped by the lack of eye witnesses.
"At no point did I think that the state proved second degree murder. I also never thought they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted recklessly. They had no ability to counter his [Zimmerman's] basic narrative, because there were no other eye-witnesses," The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote following the verdict, voicing his and other's concern with the law regarding manslaughter and murder. "I think the message of this episode is unfortunate. By Florida law, in any violent confrontation ending in a disputed act of lethal self-defense, without eye-witnesses, the advantage goes to the living. " Coates wrote.
Maddy's account come after and in contrast to the outspoken, but still anonymous, Juror B37, who made the media rounds telling people that she believed Zimmerman's "heart was in the right place" when he spotted and was suspicious of an unarmed Trayvon Martin. B37 also talked about "stand your ground" even though that was not part of the trial—Zimmerman waived his right to a stand-your-ground pretrial—leading some to believe she may have been confused about what she was deciding and/or came into the trial with a preconceived notions about the case. B37 also tried to broker a book deal less than 48 hours after the verdict.
Maddy was a bit more ambivalent than B37 and perhaps paints a fuller picture of what went on during deliberations—B37's fellow jurors, including Maddy, have released a statement distancing themselves from her post-verdict comments.. Though it's not clear if any of this is any consolation to Martin's parents, Maddy does state that she feels sorry for them. "I'm hurting as much Trayvon's Martin's mother because there's no way that any mother should feel that pain," Maddy said.
The interview with Maddy will be shown tonight during World News, Nightline and on Friday's broadcast.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.