Tall and slender, with long brown hair, Juror B37 watched the trial from the front row of the jury box, just steps from Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. B37 usually stared straight ahead, taking in the motions of the trial but little of the surrounding spectacle. She was serious, focused, intense. While lawyers made their closing arguments, other jurors took notes furiously, but B37 seldom jotted down a word. Some in the courtroom speculated that she’d already made up her mind by that point.
Her willingness to speak on national television, even after expressing a stand-offishness before opening arguments, isn’t a surprise to Green.
“These jurors have been through a lot, emotionally and physically — long, hard days listening to a lot of evidence — and they haven’t been able to talk about it to friends or family or even their fellow jurors,” Green says. “At the end of this process, the ability to talk to somebody is therapeutic.”
B37 seemed both certain and confused during her CNN interview Monday, at one point saying that the jury “knew exactly what happened,” yet adding 30 seconds later that “I don’t think anybody knows” what really happened.
Cooper asked her why she was speaking out.
“I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict,” she said, her voice breaking again.
“We thought about it for hours and cried over it afterwards,” she continued. “I don’t think any of us could ever do anything like that ever again.”
On Monday morning, B37 was represented by Seattle-based literary agent Sharlene Martin, who was ready to shop around a book about “the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial.” Mere hours after the interview aired, Martin tweeted that she was rescinding her offer of representation. Martin told the Los Angeles Times that she and B37 agreed to abort the project after the CNN interview but before a Twitter-fueled online petition was activated to squelch the deal.
Being sequestered “shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public,” Juror B37 said in a statement released through Martin on Twitter around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
During the second part of her interview, which aired Tuesday night, Cooper asked B37 whether she thought Trayvon Martin had played a part in his own death.
“Oh, I believe he played a huge role in his death,” she said, adding that “when George confronted him, he could have walked away and gone home. He didn’t have to do whatever he did and come back and be in a fight.”
That mentality suggests that the jury accepted, at face value, Zimmerman’s pretrial statements about Martin throwing the first punch, says Orlando criminal defense lawyer Aramis Donell Ayala, who notes that juries are instructed to apply Florida’s self-defense statute “at the time the force was used” — not, say, at the time one person initiates an encounter by following another.
Therein lies the larger question of how clearly the jury-selection process reveals racial biases, Ayala says, and where aggression starts in the timeline of a crime.
“The sad part is that no one sees the profiling — or the following of a person whom you’ve profiled — as a big enough social issue to make it illegal,” she says.
Juror B37, for her part, told Cooper that “race did not play a role” in the deliberation room. In the statement released within hours of her Monday interview, she expressed a desire to fade back into obscurity.
“Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general,” she 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 I was called to sit on this jury.”
Manuel Roig-Franzia contributed to this report.