*A juror in George Zimmerman’s trial says she is still haunted four years later by her part in the verdict and feels “forcefully included” in the death of Trayvon Martin.
In Oxygen’s four-part true crime series “The Jury Speaks,” several of the most infamous court cases in American history are explored – including trials involving Michael Jackson, Robert Durst and O.J. Simpson.
Part 3, airing tonight (July 24), reexamines the Zimmerman trial through the eyes of the jurors who deliberated on the case; many of whom had not closely followed the extensive media coverage of Trayvon Martin’s death. At the time of the “not guilty” verdict, juror Maddy explained in an interview: “It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much [as] Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain.”
Four years later, Maddy continues to explain that she and the other jurors had no choice but to adhere to the law as it was outlined to them. It’s a theme that seems to unite the cases in “The Jury Speaks” – having to ignore a personal desire to administer justice, and apply only the letter of the law as described by the judge.
Maddy tells The Daily Beast, “They give you this paper, and the five women were explaining it to me, saying, ‘This is the way it has to go’—you can’t look at the situation from where George Zimmerman was calling 911 and was chasing him or, you know, hovering over him—that’s not necessarily intent to hurt anybody. You have to look at it when Trayvon Martin was on top of him. Did he feel like his life was in danger? So you look at the rules they gave you, and you’re stuck in a box. You have no choice…it’s not emotional, it’s not what we want.” In other words, “The decision is made before we even get there.”
Still, Maddy has doubts. “I was the only juror who openly gave my objections and opinions to the world,” she muses when asked about her post-trial interview. “I just didn’t have the chance to do it with [my fellow jurors], because they were very vocal, they said because I didn’t know the law they were gonna help me. Was I manipulated? I don’t know.”
Maddy, who is Puerto Rican, was the only person of color on the six-woman jury. She says, “If we’re being totally honest,” that she felt “very different” from her fellow jurors, although race wasn’t the only factor: “I was around high-maintenance women, women who were very educated, women who were not my color, women who were not raised with the struggle that I was.”
Maddy says a number of other jurors struggled with the “not guilty” verdict, but she recalls one woman whose motives she questions to this day. “The only person who I can honestly say that I felt in my bones was racist, was the one who came out on TV, B37,” she confesses. During an infamous CNN appearance, Juror B37 said that she believed Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place” on the night of the attack, and that Martin probably threw the first punch.
Watch the trailer for Oxygen’s “The Jury Speaks” below: