After days of emotional testimony, former Florida neighborhood watch worker George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of killing 17-year-old high school student Trayvon Martin.
With over 16 hours of deliberation, the not guilty verdict was announced late Saturday (July 13) night.
A Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman on Saturday in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in a case that sparked a national debate over racial profiling and self-defense laws. The panel of six women deliberated more than 16 hours over two days until nearly 10 p.m. on Saturday (0200 GMT Sunday) before delivering the verdict, which drew immediate condemnation from some civil rights groups. Zimmerman appeared stoned-faced as the verdict was announced, but then showed a slight smile of relief. His parents embraced each other and his wife was tearful. (Reuters)
After a hard-fought battle, Martin’s shooter is now a free man.
Zimmerman, 29, blinked and barely smiled when the verdict was announced. After hearing the verdict, Judge Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go. “We’re ecstatic with the results,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara said after the verdict. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense.” (Fox News)
The result has already sparked various reactions and demands for justice in Martin’s memory to be carried out.
The jury could have convicted him of second-degree murder, which would have carried a sentence of up to life in prison, or manslaughter. “Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,” Roslyn Brock, who chairs the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement. “We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.” Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson tweeted within minutes of the acquittal: “Avoid violence, it will lead to more tragedies. Find a way for self construction not deconstruction in this time of despair.” (Reuters)
The shocking verdict has sparked varous reactions from the music industry.
Russell Simmons ?@UncleRUSH “I know many people are very upset about the verdict, but we must remain peaceful. No matter what, remain peaceful.” John Legend ?@johnlegend — “My heart hurts” (CNN)