George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty in Death of Trayvon Martin
George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin Saturday night.
The six jurors, all women and five of whom are white, deliberated for two days before delivering the verdict at 10 p.m. ET.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., claimed he was acting in self-defense when he fired the bullet that killed Martin, 17, last year. The jury had the option to decide between finding Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter or find him not guilty.
During Saturday's 13-hour deliberation, the jury had asked the court for clarification on its instructions regarding manslaughter. For the jury to have convicted him of manslaughter, which was only added as an option by Judge Debra Nelson Thursday, they would have had to believe that Zimmerman "intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin."
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To convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, the jury would have had to believe that he killed Martin "from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent" and that his actions would be "of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life."
After learning the verdict, Martin's father Tracy, who was not present in court, tweeted a thank-you to everyone who supported his family for nearly a year and a half since his son's untimely death. "Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us si we together can make sure that this doesn't happen again," he wrote. "Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY," he added.
Martin was killed Feb. 26, 2012, after Zimmerman spotted him walking home from the convenience store. The pair got into an altercation, though there are disputes over who instigated it, whether or not Martin saw or reached for Zimmerman's gun, and whether Zimmerman's injuries represented the beating he claimed Martin gave him.
Zimmerman was not charged for 44 days, leading to ongoing debates about racial profiling and gun rights, and widespread protests in which Martin supporters wore hoodies, like the one the teen wore that night, as a symbol of solidarity.