Juror B29 gives an exclusive interview to Robin Roberts airing on ABC’s Nightline, Thursday night, July 25, and continuing July 26 on ABC’s Good Morning America. Along with her lawyer, David Chico, Juror B29 — Maddy — is the first to “step out of the shadows” to speak to America. The lone minority member of the jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial, the young woman bravely discusses the question on minds across America: “Did George Zimmerman get away with murder?”
The wife and mother of eight spoke candidly, at times near tears, in response to queries from the GMA seasoned anchor as Roberts asked point blank, blunt questions the nation has longed to hear in this horrifying case. Describing herself as a black Hispanic, the 36-year-old woman admitted that “George Zimmerman got away with murder … [bitter smile] but you can’t get away from God.”
Maddy confessed that her decision to come forward to speak out about how the jury came to their “not guilty” verdict was difficult for her to make, but “It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat … “
Roberts stated, “You haven’t asked for money, you haven’t asked for a book deal, you haven’t asked for anything other than a forum to be able to tell your story.” Maddy replied, “I don’t need money … no money in this world could — could … could pay me … [she staunchly shakes her head] to make me forget the pain that I’m going through. Trayvon Martin will always be in my heart.”
Juror B37 told Anderson Cooper in her exclusive interview on CNN’s AC360, “I think they [Trayvon and Zimmerman] were both responsible … for the situation they had gotten themselves into. I think both of them could have walked away.”
Maddy’s response was “B37 used the word ‘we’ … I guess because we were in the jury together. She put it all as in a group. And, the way she made a lot of us sound was we walk by color … and that’s not what I do.”
Robin asked Maddy what her first vote had been. Unhesitantly she replied, “My first vote was second-degree murder.” Roberts inquired, “How did you go from — in nine hours — from feeling he was guilty of second-degree murder to ‘not guilty’?” Maddy responded, “In between the nine hours … it was hard. A lot of us had wanted to find something bad, something that we could connect to the law … because — for myself — he’s guilty … because the evidence shows he’s guilty.”
Roberts inquired, “He’s guilty of —?” Maddy firmly replied, “Killing Trayvon Martin. But, as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can’t … find … you can’t say he’s guilty.” Roberts asked, “What was going on in your mind — in your heart?” Spontaneously, she quickly interjected, “I was the juror [she admits with a sheepish smile] that was going to give them the hung jury. Oh, I was. I fought till the end.”
Roberts asked, “Do you have any regrets that you didn’t [give them the hung jury]? Maddy [with sad face, a slight motion of her head to indicate agreement, and downturned mouth] answered, “Unh. I mean I’m the only minority, and I felt like I let a lot of people down.”
Maddy admits that she never paid attention to the voice and to whom it belonged on the tape, “Because the evidence shows that people’s voices change when you’re in extreme motion.” The FBI’s audio expert had testified during the Zimmerman trial that it was impossible to determine who was screaming for help.
Robin asked, “When you all sent that note to the judge, asking for an explanation on manslaughter, what was that about?” Maddy explained, “What we were trying to figure out was … manslaughter — in order to be charged — we had to prove, that when he left home, he said ‘I’m going to go kill Trayvon Martin.’” Even her lawyer admitted that legal experts, himself included, would have been confused with the instructions given to the jury in this trial.
Being sequestered, Maddy had been unaware of the impact this trial and the jury’s verdict had had on the world. After the jury was released, she was suddenly made aware of the negative news reports and the resulting reactions from America. She said, “I literally fell on my knees, and I broke down. My husband was holding me, I was screaming and crying. And, I kept saying to myself, ‘I feel like I killed him.’ And, I feel that if … maybe if they would put the law … and, a lot of people would read it … they would understand the choices that they gave us.” Still, she stands by the choices she had “been forced to make”.
Robin asks, “Where do we go from here?” Maddy’s answer echoed Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin who recently said, “We continue to pray that we’ll find peace and strength to be forgiving parents.” She said, “My hope is that we stop walking around looking at color.”
Robin’s final question to Maddy — Juror B29 — “What would you like to say to Trayvon’s parents?” She responded, “I would like to apologize … because, I feel like I let them down. I didn’t know how much importance I was until this case … because I never looked at color — and I still don’t look at color.”
Throughout the interview, mostly from midpoint and onward, Robin’s facial expressions looked, periodically, pained and in sympathy with her interviewee. They reflected a sense of turmoil; a like expression, periodically, mirrored upon the face of Maddy, her sincerity and earnest feelings evident.
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, commented on the interview after viewing it on Thursday. She said it “challenges our nation once again to do everything we can to make sure this never happens to another child.”