Published July 18, 2013
An alternate juror in the George Zimmerman murder trial says he supports the six female jurors' decision to clear the former Florida neighborhood watch captain of all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
In an exclusive interview with MyFoxOrlando.com, Juror E54, who was one of four alternate jurors in the case, says he felt the injuries Zimmerman sustained during the altercation were the most convincing piece of evidence in the trial. He also said he believed it was Zimmerman who was screaming for help in a 911 call played during the trial, not Martin.
Jurpr E54, who asked that his name not be released and his face be obscured during the interview, also tells the station he relied on the testimony from the witnesses who heard Zimmerman and Martin fighting the night of the shooting. He said the verdict was "accurate."
"I call them 'ear-witnesses,' the ones who heard the noises and which way the noises were going. They helped me fill the gap," he said.
The alternate juror is speaking out after four of the six female jurors in the case distanced themselves from statements one of the other jurors made in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"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," said the statement, signed by Jurors B51, B76, E6 and E40. The six-sentence statement did not specify what parts of the other juror's comments they disagreed with.
Juror B37 told Cooper she believed 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 four other jurors said in their statement that Martin's death weighed on them.
"Serving on this jury has been a highly emotional and physically draining experience for each of us," the statement said. "The death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts but in the end we did what the law required us to do."
They also made a request for privacy. The court has not released the names of the jury, which included five whites and one woman who appeared to reporters to be Hispanic. B37's face was obscured by shadow during her interview.
In a statement to CNN released Wednesday, Juror B37 said she prayed for those who have the power to modify laws that gave her "no verdict option other than `not guilty' in order to remain within the instructions."
Juror B37 had an agreement with a literary agent to explore a book deal. But under pressure from critics in social media, that relationship ended when she realized the emotions tied to the case once she was out of the bubble of sequestration, she said.
"My prayers are with Trayvon's parents for their loss, as they have always been," she said.
Court officials also released the questionnaire given to potential jurors on Wednesday. The six-question form asks if they had heard about Zimmerman or Martin; if they had formed an opinion as to Zimmerman's guilt or innocence; and if they could put aside any opinion they had formed and focus only on the evidence presented in testimony.
Juror B37's interview came two days after the jury acquitted Zimmerman 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. He claimed Martin was slamming his head into the concrete sidewalk when he fired the gun.
The Associated Press contributed to this report