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July 17, 2013

Zimmerman juror offers sole window into verdict

(Continued)

The Zimmerman jury was initially split, Juror B37 told Cooper, with three voting "not guilty," two advocating manslaughter and one ready to convict Zimmerman on the second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. All but one juror thought that the cries for help on a 911 call were Zimmerman's, she said. After 16-plus hours of deliberation, when all six women attested to their unanimous verdict, "that's when everybody started to cry," B37 said, her voice quavering with emotion.

(In their statement late Tuesday, the four jurors said that Martin's death weighed on them emotionally and that the trial took its toll physically. But, the Associated Press reported, the jurors said "they did what the law required them to do.")

In the television interviews, B37 sounded reticent and fatigued, as she did a month earlier when answering questions during a special round of pre-publicity jury selection, in which lawyers assessed potential jurors' exposure to media coverage.

"I have no time to do anything other than feed my animals," she told state prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda on June 11, adding that she occasionally watches the "Today" show and uses newspapers only to line her parrot's cage.

Either in spite or because of her apparent ignorance of the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, B37 was empaneled on the six-person jury (only capital-offense trials require 12 jurors in Florida) and spent three weeks sequestered from the outside world as she heard arguments and testimony at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Fla.

Tall and slender, with long brown hair, Juror B37 watched the trial from the front row of the jury box, just steps from Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. B37 usually stared straight ahead, taking in the motions of the trial but little of the surrounding spectacle. She was serious, focused, intense. While lawyers made their closing arguments, other jurors took notes furiously, but B37 seldom jotted down a word. Some in the courtroom speculated that she'd already made up her mind by that point.

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