Monday 25 September 2017

Juror: Trayvon killer got away with murder

George Zimmerman: was found not guilty
George Zimmerman: was found not guilty

Philip Sherwell New York

The mother of Trayvon Martin said his family was "devastated" after one of the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman revealed that she believed her son's killer "got away with murder".

"It is devastating for my family to hear the comments from the juror, comments which we already knew in our hearts to be true," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of 17-year-old Trayvon.

"This new information challenges our nation once again to do everything we can to make sure that this never happens to another child."

In an interview with ABC News, the only ethnic minority member of the six-woman jury said that she "owes an apology to" Trayvon's parents because she felt that she "let them down".

The black Hispanic woman (36), who has eight children, said that when the jury deliberations began, she believed that Mr Zimmerman, who is white Hispanic, was guilty of the second degree murder charge.

"I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury," said the nursing assistant, identified by her first name, Maddy. "I fought to the end."

But others finally persuaded her that there was not the proof under Florida law to convict Mr Zimmerman (29), a neighbourhood watch volunteer, who claimed that he shot Trayvon in self-defence during a confrontation in a gated community in Sanford.

"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," she said. "George Zimmerman got away with murder, but you can't get away from God."

Her comments provoked fresh controversy about a verdict that led to nationwide protests and a heated debate about racial profiling and self-defence laws.

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Trayvon's parents, said the family was particularly disappointed to hear such comments as a unanimous verdict was required in the case.

But legal experts noted the intense pressure on a lone viewpoint in a jury room. The jury deliberated for 19 hours before they returned a not guilty verdict.

Meanwhile, a US firearms group has raised more than $12,000 (€9,000) to be spent on guns or a security system for Mr Zimmerman.

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation believes his gun rights are being violated by the US Department of Justice. The department has taken all the evidence from the trial, including the gun that killed Trayvon, as part of a civil rights investigation.

The foundation's donation for Mr Zimmerman is meant to be spent on guns, ammunition, protective gear or a security system, said Ken Hanson, the group's legal chairman.

PROTECTION

"The Department of Justice refused to return him his gun, and he's in need of protection," he said. "The money is intended to be used for anything he needs to defend himself or his family. He has complete discretion on how to use the money."

The money could end up being used to pay for Mr Zimmerman's defence costs and fees.

His spokesman, Shawn Vincent, said Mr Zimmerman has been offered free guns, but such donations have not been accepted.

Irish Independent

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