The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 16, 2013

Juror: Zimmerman jury was initially split

MIAMI (AP) — As they began deliberating in George Zimmerman's murder trial, three of the six jurors wanted to acquit him while the other three wanted to convict him of either murder or manslaughter, one of the jurors said.

The six-woman jury ultimately voted to acquit Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in last year's shooting but the jury also was allowed to consider manslaughter.

The woman, known as Juror B37, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday that when the jury began deliberations Friday, they took an initial vote. Three jurors— including B37 — were in favor of acquittal, two supported manslaughter and one backed second-degree murder. She said the jury started going through all the evidence, listening to tapes multiple times.

"That's why it took us so long," said B37, who said she planned to write a book about the trial but later had a change of heart.

When they started looking at the law, the person who initially wanted second-degree murder changed her vote to manslaughter, the juror said. Then they asked for clarification from the judge and went over it again and again. B37 said some jurors wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something, but there was just no place to go based on the law.

B37 said jurors cried when they gave their final vote to the bailiff.

"I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict," said the juror, whose face was blacked out during the televised interview but who appeared to become choked up.

The 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.

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