Jury finds Zimmerman not guilty in death of Trayvon Martin

11:16 AM, Jul 14, 2013   |    comments
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SANFORD, Fla. - George Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

After more than 15 hours of deliberations, jurors notified the judge Saturday night a little before 10 p.m. that they had reached a decision.

The six-member, all-woman jury began deliberating at 2:30 p.m. Friday after spending part of the day listening to the defense closing arguments and a rebuttal from the prosecution.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in Martin's death, but jurors also could have chosen manslaughter, but did not despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

The special state's attorney whose office prosecuted the case against George Zimmerman says she is disappointed a jury found Zimmerman not guilty.

But State Attorney Angela Corey said Saturday night that she believed the charge was appropriate because Zimmerman's mindset "fit the bill of second-degree murder."

Martin's mother and father were not inside the courtroom when the verdict was read, but supporters of Martin's family who had gathered outside the courthouse yelled out "No! No!"

Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, were reserved but expressed their disappointment. Fulton expressed her faith in God, saying "Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you." Tracy Martin tweeted that he was broken-hearted, but that his faith is "unshattered."

The teen's brother, Jahvaris Fulton, said simply: "Et tu America?" - a reference to the Latin phrase "Et tu, Brute?" known as an expression of betrayal.

After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.

Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had tears in her eyes after the the verdict was read.

Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., says his family is relieved that the jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. He tweeted: "Today ... I'm proud to be an American."

Jurors heard two different portraits of Zimmerman and had to decide whether he was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense because he feared for his life.

The case drew massive protests after a 44-day delay in Zimmerman's arrest. Demonstrators demanded Zimmerman's arrest.

The police chief in Sanford, where Martin was shot and where the trial is being held, urged peace after the verdict is read.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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