Miami: Three jurors in George Zimmerman`s second-degree murder trial initially favored convicting him of that offense or manslaughter, but the six-woman jury ultimately voted to acquit him in the killing of an unarmed black teenager after more closely examining the law, a juror in the case has said.
Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, was charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year, but the jury also was allowed to consider manslaughter.
The woman, known as Juror B37, told CNN`s Anderson Cooper yesterday 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 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, where the teenager was visiting family. Martin was black, and Zimmerman, whose mother is Peruvian, identifies himself as Hispanic. While prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling Martin, Zimmerman maintained he acted in self-defense.
Anger over Zimmerman`s acquittal continued yesterday, with civil rights leaders saying mostly peaceful protests will continue with vigils and rallies in 100 cities Saturday in front of federal buildings.
In Los Angeles, several hundred mostly peaceful protesters gathered yesterday night at Leimert Park southwest of downtown, many of them chanting, praying and singing.
But a smaller group of about 100 people splintered off and began blocking traffic on nearby Crenshaw Boulevard, some of them jumping on cars and breaking windows. Several protesters ran into a Wal-Mart store, where they knocked down displays before store security chased them out.
The Justice Department said it is looking into Martin`s death to determine whether federal prosecutors will file criminal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who is now a free man. His lawyer has told ABC News that Zimmerman will get his gun back and intends to arm himself again.
Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday called the killing of Martin a "tragic, unnecessary shooting," and said the Justice Department will follow "the facts and the law" as it reviews evidence to see whether federal criminal charges are warranted.