Juror B29 is the anti-Juror B37. The only minority among the six women who found George Zimmerman not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin said Zimmerman “got away with murder.” She said on Thursday that she feels she owes an apology to Martin’s parents. “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty.”
Her sentiments contradict Juror B37, who in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper expressed empathy with “Georgie,” and the armed neighborhood watchman’s frustration with crimes committed by “these people.” And while the words of Juror B29, a 36-year-old nursing assistant and mother of eight, won’t bring Trayvon Martin back, they publicly help to restore individuality and humanity to the unarmed 17-year-old and to his grieving parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.
In the midst of politicians and pundits standing their ground, sometimes with seemingly little regard that a child was lost, Juror B29 talks about how she feels. “It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much [as] Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain,” she said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, to be broadcast on “World News” and “Nightline” on Thursday and “GMA” on Friday.
The juror, using only the name Maddy, said, according to ABC News, that she originally favored convicting Zimmerman for second-degree murder but changed her mind after reviewing Florida law. The four other jurors have not given interviews; however, they issued a joint statement distancing themselves from Juror B37 and her certainty in finding Zimmerman not guilty.
In her interview, Maddy, who is Puerto Rican, did not indicate race was a consideration in the trial, and actually doubted whether charges should have been brought, calling the Sanford, Fla., case a “publicity stunt.” She also 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.” But, Maddy said, “the law couldn’t prove it.”
She supported Trayvon Martin’s parents’ continuing efforts to call attention to issues surrounding the case, which Wednesday included Tracy Martin’s appearance before members of the newly formed Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys.
If anything, this latest interview reinforces the need to clarify self-defense and Stand Your Ground laws, which have the potential to end up with an unarmed teenager dead and no one held accountable. The debate, which President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have acknowledged must include the country’s history on race and violence, continues.
It’s a conversation some are reluctant to join. But the consequences of ignoring it can be seen playing out not only in a country that remains divided but also in the conscience of at least one conflicted juror.
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C., has worked at The New York Times, Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter: @mcurtisnc3