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Zimmerman juror from Chicago speaks out: He 'got away with murder'

A juror in the George Zimmerman trial who had recently moved to Florida from Chicago said today that Zimmerman "got away with murder" for killing Trayvon Martin and feels she owes an apology to Martin's parents.

"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," the woman, identified only as Juror B29 during the trial, told ABC's "Good Morning America. "We had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."

She said the evidence, under Florida law, did not prove murder. 

The court has sealed the jurors' identities. While she allowed her face to be shown during the interview, she used only a first name of Maddy.

The woman is a nursing assistant and mother of eight children. She was living in Chicago when Martin was killed and was selected as a juror five months after moving to Seminole County, Fla. She is 36 and Puerto Rican, the only minority among the five women on the jury. Zimmerman, 29, is Hispanic and Martin, 17, was black.

But Maddy insisted that the case was never about race, at least to her. "George Zimmerman got away with murder, but you can't get away from God. And at the end of the day, he's going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with," Maddy told the show.

When the jury began deliberations, Maddy said she favored convicting Zimmerman of second-degree murder, which could have put him in prison for the rest of his life. The jury was also allowed to consider manslaughter, a lesser charge.

"I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end," she said.

But on the second day of deliberations, Maddy said she realized there wasn't enough proof to convict Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter under Florida law. Zimmerman admitted he shot and killed Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, but maintained he fired in self-defense.

"That's where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it," Maddy said. "But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can't say he's guilty."

The juror said she has had trouble adjusting to life after the verdict, and has wrestled with whether she made the right decision. "I felt like I let a lot of people down, and I'm thinking to myself, 'Did I go the right way? Did I go the wrong way?'" she said.

"As much as we were trying to find this man guilty. . .they give you a booklet that basically tells you the truth. And the truth is that there was nothing that we could do about it," she said. "I feel the verdict was already told."

She said she believes she owes Trayvon Martin's parents an apology because she feels "like I let them down."

"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 Trayvon's Martin's mother because there's no way that any mother should feel that pain," she said.

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, responded to the interview excerpts in a statement on Thursday evening.

"It is devastating for my family to hear the comments from juror B29, comments which we already knew in our hearts to be true: that George Zimmerman literally got away with murder," Fulton said.

When asked by GMA host Robin Roberts whether the case should have gone to trial, the juror said, "I don't think so." She added, "I felt like this was a publicity stunt."

Maddy is the second juror to speak in a televised interview, and the first to show her face.

Juror B37, whose face and body were hidden, appeared last week on Anderson Cooper's CNN show, and said she believes Zimmerman's "heart was in the right place" when he became suspicious of Martin and that the teenager probably threw the first punch.

Since then, four other jurors distanced themselves from B37's remarks and released a statement saying B37's opinions were "not in any way representative" of their own.

Juror B29 was not among those four jurors.

She had kept her silence but now has become the first to express doubts about her decision.

The full interview will air Friday on "Good Morning America," which starts at 7 a.m.

In response to the interview, attorney Ben Crump, who represents Trayvon's parents, told the Orlando Sentinel: "If members of the jury thought the instructions were confusing, which caused them to give the wrong verdict, then they should join the efforts to amend these 'stand your ground' laws."

Maddy is represented by Celebration attorney David Chico, whose practice includes criminal defense, family law and personal injury. Attempts to reach him Thursday were unsuccessful.

The jurors' names have not been revealed. Contrary to normal practice, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson allowed them to remain anonymous after the verdict because of the publicity surrounding the case.

Zimmerman's defense attorneys have asked Nelson to extend that anonymity for six months, while lawyers representing media outlets argue that the names should be released immediately.

Reuters and the Orlando Sentinel contributed.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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