National News
George Zimmerman Not Guilty
By Nashfa Hawwa
Jul 13, 2013 - 8:36:57 PM

SANFORD—George Zimmerman, 29, the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter on Saturday, July 13 by a Florida jury.

George Zimmerman, with his defense attorneys, Don West, and Mark O'Mara

The panel of six women, which was sequestered, deliberated more than 16 hours over two days until nearly 10 p.m. The jury informed Judge Debra Nelson that they found Zimmerman not guilty and stated that he had justifiably used deadly force and that such force was "necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm" to himself. They furthermore stated that Zimmerman did not "intentionally commit an act or acts that caused death" or demonstrate a "depraved mind without regard for human life," which is Florida's definitions of manslaughter and second degree murder, respectively.


Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O'Mara said it was time for the defendant to move on with his life. "I think he's going to be great. I think he is still worried. Hopefully everyone will respect the jury's verdict," O'Mara said. He furthermore added "We're ecstatic with the results. George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense."


Zimmerman's father tweeted: "Our whole family is relieved. Today... I'm proud to be an American. God Bless America! Thank you for your prayers!"


On the other side, prosecutors said that they respect the verdict despite the disappointment. Lead prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said, "I am disappointed in the verdict, but I respect it. We accept the jury's verdict."


Criminal attorney Darren Kavinoky responded to the slurry of demonstrators and protestors alike who had supported Trayvon outside the courtroom in Sanford, Florida, and in several cities.


"The prosecution had no clear narrative, witnesses that appeared poorly prepared, and at the end of the day, this is more of a loss by the prosecution than a win by the defense," said criminal attorney Darren Kavinoky.


The shooting and death of Trayvon Martin was likened to the brutal murder of 14 year-old Emmett Till, who was accused of flirting with a white woman in 1995 in Mississippi. Supporters of Trayvon claim that the motives behind both deaths were fuelled by racial hatred. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the parents of Trayvon said that, "You have a little black boy who was killed. It's going to be reported in history books and 50 years from now, our children will talk about Trayvon Martin's case like we talk about Emmett Till."


The verdict also prompted a response from the Chairman of the NAACP Roslyn M. Brock, "Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family. 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."


"We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, in a statement.  "We stand with Trayvon’s family and we are called to act. We will pursue civil rights charges with the Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state, and we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed," he added.


Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, tweeted "Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you forever Trayvon!!! In the name of Jesus!!!"


Despite Zimmerman having been charged with murder on April 11, 2012 by State Attorney Angela Corey, prosecutors had not argued that Zimmerman had racially profiled the teen in court. It was argued that Trayvon was profiled as a criminal instead.


More than 50 witnesses had testified for the voraciously discussed and nationally televised case. If Zimmerman was found guilty by the jury for second-degree murder, he would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison, and if he had been convicted of manslaughter, he would have faced 30 years in prison.

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