Published July 17, 2013
Four of the jurors in George Zimmerman's murder trial distanced themselves late Tuesday from statements that another juror made in a televised interview.
The statement, which was written on court stationary and signed by Jurors B51, B76, E6 and E40, said the opinions expressed by Juror B37 in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night were not representative of their views.
Juror B37 said the actions of Zimmerman and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin both led to the teenager's fatal shooting last year, but that Zimmerman didn't actually break the law.
"The opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below," the statement said.
The jurors also requested privacy in the midst of the ongoing controversy over the not guilty verdict rendered Saturday evening.
"We, the undersigned jurors, understand there is a great deal of interest in this case," the statement read. "But we ask you to remember that we are not public officials and we did not invite this type of attention into our lives."
"Serving on this jury has been a highly emotional and physically draining experience for each of us," the statement continued. "The death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts but in the end we did what the law required us to do.
"We appeal to the highest standards of your profession and ask the media to respect our privacy and give us time to process what we have been through," the statement concluded.
The names of the six-woman jury, which included five whites and one woman who appeared to reporters to be Hispanic, have not been released by the court.
Juror B37's interview came two days after the jury acquitted Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Martin was black, and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic. Zimmerman was not arrested for 44 days, and the delay in charging him led to protests from those who believed race was a factor in the handling of the case.
While prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling Martin, Zimmerman maintained he acted in self-defense.
In the CNN interview, Juror B37 said she didn't believe that Zimmerman followed Martin, 17, because of his race. She said Zimmerman made some mistakes, but that she believed Martin struck Zimmerman first and that the neighborhood watch volunteer had a right to defend himself. She repeatedly referred to Zimmerman as "George" in the interview, stating at one point, "I have no doubt George feared for his life in the situation he was in at the time."
Juror B37 added that the jurors were initially divided on Zimmerman's guilt, with three jurors believing he was guilty of either manslaughter or second-degree murder, but that the jury agreed to acquit the 29-year-old Zimmerman after studying the law.
In a part of the interview that aired Tuesday, Juror B37 said it wouldn't have made much difference if Zimmerman had testified at trial since she believes he would have gave the same story he gave investigators in videotaped police interviews that were played at the trial.
Juror B37 said at one point it appeared they might be heading to a hung jury as another juror wanted to leave. The other jurors convinced her to stay.
Juror B37 said a block of concrete that defense attorney Mark O'Mara placed in front of jurors during closing arguments made an impression, as did photos of Zimmerman's bloodied head. She also believed Martin's actions contributed to his death.
"I think George got in a little bit too deep, which he shouldn't have been there, but Trayvon decided that he wasn't going to let him scare him and get the one-over, up on him or something," she said. "I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him. "
By not walking away from the confrontation, the juror said of Martin, "I believe he played a huge role in his death."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.