JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- State Attorney Angela Corey and lead prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda have had two days for the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict to sink in.
"Glad to be home with the family but still disappointed," said De La Rionda.
Corey also admits her disappointment will not soon fade. "But what helps us wage that disappointment is to know that we put our all into this case," said Corey.
The prosecution had been criticized that it overcharged by going after second degree murder.
"We charged what we we believe we can prove. We don't charge based on what the verdict is going to be. We charged what we think we can prove under the law," said Corey.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara claimed if George Zimmerman were black he would have never been charged.
Corey said Zimmerman's skin color was never a factor. "That is blatantly false. He would have been charged if all else being equal and he was black. He would have been charged in this jurisdiction. In fact, aren't there people out there accusing me of charging too many blacks?"
Corey will be up for reelection in three years. She addressed her critics who claimed she brought Zimmerman to trial so she could get the African American vote. "That allegation is ridiculous. Nobody pressures me. The only pressure I have in my own ethical guidelines and the guidelines for every ethical person that works for me to always do the right thing for the right reason," she said.
What could the prosecution have done differently? Bernie De La Rionda said being able to investigate from the very beginning. "In retrospect, I wish we could have been there on day one meaning at the scene where it happened. That's what we're fortunate enough to do here. So we were at a handicapped in some way for not having 30 days involved from the very beginning."
The trial had 56 witnesses. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara says one key witness, Racheal Jentel, hurt the prosecution's case. De La Rionda disagrees. "I think she did a good job. I think quite frankly, personally, I think it backfired on them on the defense because they had her up there for as long as they did. At some point people are going to feel sorry for a kid and she was a kid to be subjected to this extensive cross examination over and over."
There was no determination who was screaming on the 911 tape. But Corey says the tape and how Martin fired the gun were the two most compelling issues.
"We believe it was Trayvon Martin screaming for help and another compelling thing is that there's no way George Zimmerman, especially now that his defense painted him as this soft, pudgy guy who really couldn't fight and couldn't take a lick, how does he take control of that situation and take a gun from the inside holster of the back of his pants while being straddled forcefully?"
Looking ahead, Corey said the verdict will not change the way she prosecutes the local Michael Dunn case where Dunn is accused of killing 17 year old Jordan Davis over loud music. "Absolutely not. We have a lot of murder cases pending and we will continue to try them the same way for the 30 years we have been prosecuting and the same way we expect to continue to prosecute."
The state lost the George Zimmerman case but Corey and De La Rionda say justice was still served. "This case will always will be something that we will be proud of. We put these facts in front of a jury and we sought justice for Trayvon Martin."
As for what the prosecution would ask George Zimmerman now? "I want to know if he's remorseful," said De La Rionda.
First Coast News