Zimmerman acquitted in Trayvon Martin death

  • Follow National

SANFORD, Fla. — Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.

Zimmerman, 29, blinked and barely smiled when the verdict was announced. He could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter. But the jury of six women, all but one of them white, reached a verdict of not guilty after deliberating well into the night Saturday. The jurors considered nearly three weeks of often wildly conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor on the rainy night the 17-year-old was shot while walking through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.

Defense attorneys said the case was classic self-defense, claiming Martin knocked Zimmerman down and was slamming the older man’s head against the concrete sidewalk when Zimmerman fired his gun.

Prosecutors called Zimmerman a liar and portrayed him was a “wannabe cop” vigilante who had grown frustrated by break-ins in his neighborhood committed primarily by young black men. Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good and took the law into his own hands, prosecutors said.

State Attorney Angela Corey said after the verdict that she believed second-degree murder was the appropriate charge because Zimmerman’s mindset “fit the bill of second-degree murder.”

“We charged what we believed we could prove,” Corey said.

As the verdict drew near, police and city leaders in the Orlando suburb of Sanford and other parts of Florida said they were taking precautions against the possibility of mass protests or unrest in the event of an acquittal.

“There is no party in this case who wants to see any violence,” Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said immediately after jurors began deliberating. “We have an expectation upon this announcement that our community will continue to act peacefully.”

The verdict came a year and a half after civil rights protesters angrily demanded Zimmerman be prosecuted.

Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for 44 days after the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting as police in Sanford insisted that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. Florida gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.

Martin’s parents, along with civil rights leaders such as the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, argued that Zimmerman – whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic – had racially profiled their son. And they accused investigators of dragging their feet because Martin was a black teenager.

Before a special prosecutor assigned to the case ordered Zimmerman’s arrest, thousands of protesters gathered in Sanford, Miami, New York and elsewhere, many wearing hoodies like the one Martin had on the night he died. They also carried Skittles and a can of iced tea, items Martin had in his pocket. President Obama weighed in, saying that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.”

Despite the racially charged nature of the case, race was barely mentioned at the trial. Even after the verdict, prosecutors said race was not about race.

“This case has never been about race or the right to bear arms,” Corey said. “We believe this case all along was about boundaries, and George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries.”

One exception was the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, the Miami teen who was talking to Martin by phone moments before he was shot. She said he described being followed by a “creepy … cracker” as he walked through the neighborhood.

Jeantel gave some of the trial’s most riveting testimony. She said she overheard Martin demand, “What are you following me for?” and then yell, “Get off! Get off!” before his cellphone went dead.

The jurors had to sort out clashing testimony from 56 witnesses in all, including police, neighbors, friends and family members.

For example, witnesses who got fleeting glimpses of the fight in the darkness gave differing accounts of who was on top. And Martin’s parents and Zimmerman’s parents both claimed that the person heard screaming for help in the background of a neighbor’s 911 call was their son. Numerous other relatives and friends weighed in, too, as the recording was played over and over in court. Zimmerman had cuts and scrapes on his face and the back of his head, but prosecutors suggested the injuries were not serious.

To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved” state of mind – that is, with ill will, hatred or spite. Prosecutors said he demonstrated that when he swore while talking about “punks” who “always get away” during a call to police as he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood.

To win a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.

Comments (106) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Think Deeper
Think Deeper 07/15/13 - 05:58 pm
Darby and InChrist


Darby you didn't lose me with your words not by a stretch to say the least. I don't want to focus on PRESIDENT BARACK H. OBAMA, the best president we've had since the start of the 21st Century. The DOJ will decide independently whether to prosecute or not. Remember not all groups of people get together in back rooms and plot and figure out ways how to mistreat others. I don't quite see that in his DNA. Nevertheless, the DOJ actually STARTED its investigation BACK in February 2012 and not NOW. Gosh I can't believe you didn't know that! Didn't you even hear the Florida judge say that Florida is RELEASING the EVIDENCE meaning the Zimmerman can get his gun back. That should tell you that the Feds ALREADY have COMPLETED certain parts of its investigation. Truth by told they are re-evaluating the state's tactics to gleam if any other data can be placed with what they heard to PREPARE its approach. DANG I'm good!

Darby guess what? When the Trayvon's parents sue Zimmerman in civil court Zimmerman HAS to take the stand. I wonder if the DOJ are going to have attorneys present at that trial? What do you think? Because that is a civil trial that certainly is going to occur seeing how Zimmerman may get a book deal. Did I lose you again?

There was no 4 minutes of nothingness. Remember the state said that there was overlap in time and that there was perhaps 2 minutes of nothingness. As far as where was Trayvon I really don't follow your question because he WAS on the cellphone WITH Rachel AT the moment Zimmerman confronted him. I think Rachel answers your question when she says that a heavy breathing man approached Trayvon and next thing you hear is Trayvon saying "get off get off." Remember they were on the cellphone when he went to the store and while he was walking the way back from the store until Zimmerman confronts him. There was a dropped call but she called back immediately and he answered saying that he was STILL being followed. Trayvon told the WORLD through Rachel that he was BEING followed twice, which is what Zimmerman himself told dispatch that he was following Trayvon who had been running, which should confirm for you that Zimmerman was breathing heavy when she (Rachel) heard Trayvon ask him why are you following me than heard Trayvon say get off get off.

The question that needs to answered is what is going on between the two after Rachel's call is disconnected and the first 911 call, which again according to the state is 2 minutes. I believe that Trayvon is telling Zimmerman to get off of him and is fighting off Zimmerman who probably wants Trayvon to stick around for the police, which Trayvon would not have to do because Trayvon was unarmed and had committed no crime. Do you know of any crime that Trayvon had committed that evening immediately before Zimmerman approached him? What is sad is if you go back and listen to Zimmerman's dispatch call the dispatch officer asks Zimmerman if he wants the police to meet him at the clubhouse and Zimmerman tells dispatch to have them call his cellphone, which in essence means that dispatch would not know where Zimmerman would be since they would need to call him. That gives Zimmerman time to confront Trayvon and concoct the story he needed.

InChrist you asked about Trayvon's father as if he was irresponsible in not knowing about the whereabouts of Trayvon. I find your question interesting because it makes me believe that because Trayvon died you somehow want to accept that his dad is irresponsible in some capacity, which I hope is not your mindset. Nevertheless, perhaps you want to go back and listen to the dad's interview concerning the whereabouts of Trayvon and you will find that he did inquire and call home to check on his son and nephew.

Now let me ask you a question. If you had shot someone with a high velocity weapon who would be the first person you called? I believe most folk would call 911 or EMS. George's first call was to his dad, the judge. He didn't even call his wife first. He called daddy. Have you also asked yourself how much time George had "ALONE" before anyone approach the scene. What do you think he was doing with all that time? Some witnesses says he walked to the area where his keys were FOUND and he had his hand on his head. What you think he was doing since he didn't pick up his keys? Why you think he walked some 40 feet away from the body?

I bring up Zimmerman's past because it is telling. The man has a violent past. He attacked a cop and beat a female. You didn't create his history why are you trying to protect it? What I know about Trayvon's history is that he was suspended from school but that clearly doesn't make him a violent person. Zimmerman clearly didn't need to be issued a concealed weapon permit knowing that he attacked a cop and beat a female. Shame of Florida for issuing him a concealed weapon permit.

internationallyunknown 07/16/13 - 01:03 pm
ICL - you continue to

ICL - you continue to surprise me with every post.

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Do you really think this case is over?
Do you believe that God is pleased with America?
Do you believe that God is pleased with the way GZ reacted to this situation?

Talks about letting your emotions trump Gods words.

Darby 07/16/13 - 02:49 pm
I guess that in its infinite wisdom, Florida

must have been prescient in issuing a concealed carry permit to Zimmerman. It's almost as though they knew that at some point that he would be attacked by a brain addled nut case.

You could say that Florida saved Zimmerman's life. Maybe even the lives of one or more others down the road.

After all, who in his right mind would turn and attack and assault a man he doesn't know, who may or may not be armed, in the middle of the night when he is so close to the safety and comfort of home?

The answer?? No one, "in his right mind" would do that!

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs