More than a week after the verdict, a member of the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin — the first juror to show her face publicly — said she anguished over her not guilty vote and that ultimately, "Zimmerman got away with murder.''
The only minority in the all-female jury, the juror known as B-29 said she struggled to balance the law against her heart, in her first public comments made in an exclusive interview with ABC airing Thursday and today. Though she followed the law and stands by her decision, she said feels she owes the parents of the Miami Gardens teenager an apology.
"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," said the woman, using only her the first name, "Maddy'' for security reasons. "But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."
Maddy is the second juror to come forward, the first with her face shown, offering insight into how Zimmerman's fate was decided. He was acquitted July 13 after a five-week trial that provided the framework for a national discussion about race, profiling, self-defense laws and gun control
The jury — five whites, one Hispanic — deliberated for about 16 hours over two days. The jury was initially split: three for not guilty; two for manslaughter and Maddy, who first voted for second-degree murder, which carried the possibility of a life sentence.
By the second day, nine hours into deliberations, she said she realized there wasn't enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter under Florida laws — laws that she, like the other juror who went public, found confusing.
"I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end," she told Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts. "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.''
Maddy, 36, who is Puerto Rican and a mother of eight children, was selected as a juror months after she had moved to Seminole County from Chicago. She works as a nursing assistant.
She did not buy the prosecution's argument — and the widely carried media narrative — that Zimmerman had profiled Martin because he was black, and said that for her personally, race was not part of the case.
Maddy's statements put her at odds with another juror who remained anonymous but gave an interview to CNN's Anderson Cooper. That juror, B-37, said she and two others were ready to acquit at the start of deliberations, felt Martin contributed to his own death and expressed sympathy for Zimmerman.
But the two jurors ultimately agreed then and now on the same fact: Florida's self-defense laws and the lack of solid evidence made it almost impossible to convict Zimmerman.
After the trial, Maddy said she worried that she had made the wrong decision. Or even if there should ever have been a trial.
"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?' " she said. "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 said. "I feel the verdict was already told."
She also wrestles with the Martin family's loss of a child.
"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,'' she said tearfully. "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."