TODAY   |  July 16, 2013

Zimmerman trial juror: ‘Both were responsible’

Juror B37 spoke to CNN last night about the Zimmerman trial and verdict, saying that when the six jurors first sat down to discuss the case, only three thought Zimmerman was not guilty. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports and NBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom discusses the case.

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>>> new details about what lead to george zimmerman 's acquittal from the first member of the jury to speak out. nbc's kerry sanders is in sanford, florida. he has that part of the story. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning. juror b.-37 sat down and did an extensive interview with cnn. in that interview she said when the six jurors went into the jury room one believed that george zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder. two thought he was guilty of manslaughter and three believed george zimmerman was not guilty. juror b-37 sat in silhouette talking to cnn's anderson cooper about the weight of the jury's decision.

>> it's just hard thinking that somebody lost their life and there's nothing else that could be done about it. it's what happened is sad.

>> b-37 is the first of the six jurors to speak revealing how she says the jury concluded when george zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old trayvon martin it was not a crime.

>> it's a tragedy this happened, but it happened. and i think -- i think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into. i think both of them could have walked away.

>> reporter: george zimmerman was armed with this .9 millimeter pistol. b-37 once had a concealed weapons permit. her husband, she said, owns a gun. zimmerman fired a single shot that pierced martin 's heart and lung. in a defense animation lawyers argued that trayvon martin first punched george zimmerman and the two fought.

>> because of the heat of the moment and the stand your ground and he had a right to defend himself. if he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or have bodily harm , he had a right.

>> reporter: in deliberations the jury repeatedly played back the police video tape where zimmerman reenacted what he said happened and they listened over and over again to the 911 phone call with that scream for help and the gunshot.

>> so you think he's yelling help.

>> yes.

>> all right. what's your number.

>> there's gunshots.

>> whose voice do you think it was?

>> i think it was george zimmerman 's.

>> did everyone on the jury agree with that?

>> all but one.

>> reporter: by order of the judge prosecutors would only say zimmerman profiled martin . they could not say he was racially profiled .

>> so you don't believe race mayed a role in this case?

>> i don't think it did. i think if there was another person, spanish, white, asian, if they came in the same situation where trayvon was, i think george would have reacted the exact same way.

>> reporter: in an interview monday night special prosecutor angela corey was asked for one word to describe george zimmerman .

>> murderer.

>> reporter: in the wake of this verdict that resulted in protests and in some cases as we have seen violence, defense attorney mark o'mara said if someone is hurt because of angela corey 's word, murderer, actions should be taken to hold her responsible. angela corey was unavailable for further comment, matt.

>>> all right. kerry sanders in florida this morning. thank you. lisa bloom is today's legal analyst. good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> i'm going to go through the headlines. she said while she thought zimmerman got in too deep, shouldn't have been in that situation she felt it was trayvon martin that decided to attack george zimmerman prompted the fatal altercation.

>> that was the defense theory of the case. zimmerman may have followed or approached trayvon martin but that trayvon martin began the fight by punching him in the face.

>> she did not believe george zimmerman profiled trayvon martin . she did not feel that race played a significant role in the situation.

>> right. isn't it fascinating how up to the case and after the case it's been all about race in the demonstrations but inside the courtroom the prosecution team told the jurors this case is not about race.

>> you were right about this in the new york times today about this subject.

>> in my opinion how they bungled the race issue in the trial.

>> all right. the audio tape of the 911 call where there's a scream for help before the gunshot that killed trayvon martin . this juror said all but one of the jurors believe the voice on that tape calling for help was that of george zimmerman .

>> we all thought that the witnesses on both sides would cancel each other out on that but she was impressed by a former army doctor that testified he heard people screaming on the battlefield and could identify voices that way.

>> one of the things that stud out to me, she used the word confusing on a number of occasions. they had to consider second-degree murder, they had to consider manslaughter. they had to think about self-defense. they had to think about stand your ground . based on what you heard, do you think she had a clear understanding of the law she was being asked to deliberate.

>> the jury instructions were confusing. i read through them. they sent out a note that they didn't understand the manslaughter charge. ultimately they came back with an acquittal but this was a call to clear up the jury instructions .

>> on a related subject she believes whether trayvon martin may have reached for george zimmerman 's gun or not, it didn't make a difference because george zimmerman had a right to protect himself.

>> well, he did if he was reasonably in fear of imminent great bodily injury or death. reasonably. but the question of whether or not he was reaching for the gun, ultimately both sides were arguing reasonable doubt by the end of this trial. doesn't surprise me.

>> based on the verdict does it surprise you she said going into deliberations three were in favor of acquittal and two in favor of manslaughter and one on second-degree murder.

>> that was fadoes fast nate me that it was close in the beginning.

>>> thank you. now to a massive heat wave gripping a large section of the country. stifling humidity. this morning it's intensifying. peter alexander is in