George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty
George Zimmerman has been acquitted for both second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The verdict was released late Saturday evening after nearly 16 hours of jury deliberation. Jurors had asked for clarification of manslaughter charges earlier Saturday evening.
Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming he was acting in self-defense when he shot Martin. His trial gripped the nation and was highly publicized, raising questions of race, Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and gun violence.
The jury, which consisted of six women, decided thatZimmerman didn't "intentionally commit an act or acts that caused death" or demonstrate a "depraved mind without regard for human life," which are Florida's definitions of manslaughter and second-degree murder.
Zimmerman was arrested six weeks after the incident occurred, after demonstrators across Florida and the nation called for action. Gov. Rick Scott dropped local prosecutors from the case and appointed the state attorney from Jacksonville, Angela Corey, to the case. Corey charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
The prosecution painted Zimmerman as a neighborhood watch volunteer and wannabe cop. Zimmerman called 911 on the night of the shooting to report a suspicious person, Martin, who was walking around the neighborhood. The dispatcher told Zimmerman to let the police handle the matter, but prosecutors say Zimmerman went ahead and followed Martin anyway.
The defense claimed that Zimmerman did not followed Martin. The defense argued Martin actually attacked Zimmerman, beating him several times and throwing his head onto the ground. Photographs in the trial showed Zimmerman with visible lacerations on the back of his head. Prosecutors claimed these wounds were insignificant.
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