On the night of February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, 28, shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The incident quickly captured media attention and polarized the nation. Recently, Dr. Phil spoke to Zimmerman’s best friends, Mark and Sondra Osterman,
who shocked the public when they defended their friend, whom some are calling “The Most Hated Man in America.” Today, Trayvon’s parents, Tracy and Sybrina speak out for the first time since the six-month
anniversary of Trayvon’s death. Joined
by their 21-year-old son, Jahvaris, and their attorneys, Benjamin Crump and
Daryl Parks, they respond to the Ostermans interview and ask Dr. Phil some hard
Living a Nightmare
“Trayvon was my baby. It almost feels like I’m missing an arm,” says Sybrina, adding that she cries often. “I actually think I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but I pray every day that God strengthens me and continues to help me move on, because I cannot think of anything worse that could possibly happen to me, besides one of my boys being murdered.”
Tracy says Trayvon was a loving and outgoing teen. “It’s very tough to sit back and listen to people persecuting him. It’s almost as if Trayvon was the one with the gun, almost as if Trayvon shot George Zimmerman, and that’s not the case,” he says.
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Emotions pour out as Sybrina and Tracy recall learning about Trayvon’s death.
“At some point, you have to give yourselves permission to say, ‘I will not feel judged. I will not allow my boy’s image … to be tainted by people trying to make sense out of nonsense.’”
“I ask myself: ‘Did I fail him? Did I let him down?’”
Zimmerman, who is currently free on bail, offered an apology to Tracy
and Sybrina. Are the grief-stricken parents able to forgive him?
Letting Go of Regret
Dr. Phil offers Tracy and Sybrina advice, and puts them through an emotional exercise.
“Those are the gifts you give a young man.”
“This is not what he would want for you.”
“You’ve got to forgive yourself,” Dr. Phil tells Tracy. “Recognize the fact that your job as a father — our jobs as fathers — is to be providers, protectors, teachers and leaders. You did all of those things.”
To Sybrina, he says, “You’re going to hurt. That pain is normal, but you’re not going to have a nervous breakdown. I see too much depth in your soul.”
Tracy and Sybrina have created a foundation in Trayvon’s memory. “Through that foundation, we have directed some of our energy into helping other families so they can cope with a tragic loss such as this,” she explains. Update: Trayvon’s Parents, Zimmerman’s Best Friend: The Verdict Reaction