Zimmerman Jurors Had Secret Reunion at Christmas

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 03:24 PM

By Sharon Churcher

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A juror from the George Zimmerman murder case has revealed that the all-woman panel had a secret reunion in hopes of putting the controversial case behind them.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the 62-year-old woman said she met the other five women at an Orlando restaurant last Christmas.

"It was the only time we met after the case, and as far as I know, none of us has kept in touch," she told Mail Online. "It was the one time we all got together, and for us it was a time to have closure."

During the trial, the women were identified only by letters and numbers.

"Most of us on the jury were in our late 50s or 60s," she said. The youngest member was 36, she added. "It was an experience I will not forget."

Judge Debra Nelson originally ordered that the women’s names continue to be withheld after they acquitted the neighborhood watch volunteer in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O'Mara had argued that this was necessary for their safety.
But the names have been released in public records after a campaign by the Orlando Sentinel.

"Courts, like the rest of government in Florida, are expected to conduct their business openly," the newspaper said.

"Protecting jurors is fundamentally the responsibility of police, not judges. The rare trials where courts have allowed the names of jurors to remain secret after a proceeding have typically involved organized-crime cases, where the risk of retaliation from someone directly associated with the defendant would be more realistic."

The woman who spoke to Mail Online insisted she had no qualms about the verdict, but declined to discuss her reasoning.

"We have all moved on," she said. "I don't talk about it, and as far as I know, the others do not talk about it. Whatever I say now could just stir things up and be read the wrong way. I do not want that.

"We were all called to do our duty by the court, and that is what we did. I have no regrets over anything. Time has passed, and everyone has moved on. Zimmerman has moved on with his life, and so have we.

"I have chosen not to talk about the case, other than to say I never thought in my lifetime I would experience something like it. I did my duty, and that was what was asked."

Zimmerman insisted he fired in self-defense after Martin, 17, attacked him in a gated community in Sanford, Fla.

Prosecutors alleged he profiled the teenager as a criminal, then pursued, confronted, and killed him as they grappled on the ground.

After more than three weeks of witness testimony, the jury cleared Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Only one juror, identified by her number, B29, and first name Maddy, has spoken about the panel’s discussions.

The woman, the only Hispanic on the jury, said she thought Zimmerman was guilty but voted for acquittal because she thought prosecutors had failed to prove the facts of the case.

"You can't put the man in jail, even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," she said. "But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."

The juror who spoke to Mail Online said the jurors have been contacted by the sheriff's office in Seminole County and warned that their names are now available to the public.

"Every step of the way, we have had fantastic support from the sheriff's office and the court. We knew our names would be made public and had time to make a decision to see if we wanted to talk," she said. "It is over, and there is no point in going over it again and again."

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