MIAMI (Reuters) - The mother of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was shot dead in Florida last year by volunteer watchman George Zimmerman, said on Thursday she was “stunned” and felt “disgust” when a jury found her son’s killer not guilty.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, told “CBS This Morning.” “I just knew that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar.”
On Saturday, a six-woman jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the February 26, 2012, killing of Martin inside a gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford.
“My first thought was shock, disgust,” Fulton said on another TV show, ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I was stunned absolutely,” Fulton told ABC.
Fulton and Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, gave their first interviews on the verdict that has renewed debate about race relations in the United States and cast scrutiny on gun laws and self-defense laws.
Neither Fulton nor Martin were in the Seminole County courtroom when the verdict was read, although Martin at the time sent a Tweet describing himself as “broken hearted.”
Martin told ABC that he believed jurors were given little opportunity to know more about their son.
“They didn’t know him as a human being, a fun-loving kid,” Martin said. “I just wish they had an opportunity to really know who Trayvon was and to put that in context with what their decision was.”
A member of the jury that found Zimmerman not guilty has called for changes to Florida’s self-defense law, which she said gave jurors no option but to acquit him.
“My prayers are with all those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with no verdict option other than ‘not guilty’ in order to remain within the instructions,” the juror, identified only as B-37, said in a statement this week.
According to the judge’s instructions to the jury, Zimmerman had “no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force” if he reasonably feared for his life or great bodily harm.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, said the parents were considering filing a civil lawsuit against Zimmerman.
“We are looking at all legal options right now,” Crump told CBS.
Reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami and Emily Stephenson in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool