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Zimmerman found not guilty in killing of Fla. teenager

George Zimmerman (R) is congratulated by his defense team after being found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013.

George Zimmerman (R) is congratulated by his defense team after being found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013.

Reader poll

Do you agree with the jury finding Zimmerman not guilty?

  • Yes, they got it right. 47%
  • No, I think he was guilty. 53%
  • I'm still undecided. 0%

2143 total votes.

photo

Demonstrators react to the verdict outside Seminole County Court where George Zimmerman was found not guilty on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Sanford, Florida July 13, 2013.

SANFORD, Fla. — 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 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.

"I think the prosecution of George Zimmerman was disgraceful," said his attorney Don West. "As happy as I am for George Zimmerman, I'm thrilled that this jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty."

Outside the courthouse, the decision drew angry shouts from some of the dozens of demonstrators who had gathered during the day in support of Martin's family.

His parents were not in the court during the reading of the verdict, but his father, Tracy Martin, later tweeted that his son would have been proud of the fight put up for him.

"Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered," he wrote. "Together can make sure that this doesn't happen again."

Zimmerman, 29, who is white and Hispanic, said Martin, 17, attacked him on the night of February 26, 2012, in the central Florida town of Sanford. Prosecutors contend the neighborhood watch coordinator in his gated community was a "wannabe cop" who tracked down the teenager and shot him without justification.

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."

CASE DREW PROTESTS, SCRUTINY

What happened in Sanford that February night may never have gone beyond the back pages of a local newspaper if police had immediately arrested Zimmerman.

But he walked free for more than six weeks after the shooting, because police believed his assertion of self-defense, triggering protests and cries of injustice across the country.

It also drew comment from President Barack Obama, forced the resignation of Sanford's police chief, and brought U.S. Justice Department scrutiny to this town of 54,000 residents not far from Disney World in Orlando.

Bernie de la Rionda, the assistant state attorney who was the chief prosecutor in the case against Zimmerman, said he and his two fellow prosecutors were unhappy about the outcome of the trial.

"I am disappointed, as we are, with the verdict. But we accept it. We live in a great country that has a great criminal justice system. It's not perfect, but it is the best in the world and we respect the jury's verdict," he said.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office said it had heard nothing about any potential violent reaction to the verdict in and around Sanford, where about 30 percent of the residents are black.

"It's very quiet so far," spokeswoman Kim Cannaday told Reuters, about 30 minutes after the verdict was handed down in Sanford's Seminole County courthouse.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch the verdict.

Comments

Say_that_again 1 year, 1 month ago

Amazing! 6 jurors have declared that I can chase someone, goad them into hitting me then pull my concealed gun and kill them when they do. This is not justice and will result in others thinking they are justified with little provocation. So now, in Florida, we return to the old west concept of the fastest draw wins the day.

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JV 1 year, 1 month ago

Residents: Crime perception based on painful fact

Spigener brought thunderous applause and a few objections when he said teenagers — as young as 13 — weren’t “kids” if they carried a gun and robbed or shot people. “Kids like to ride bikes,” he said. “These people are not kids so let’s just call them like they are. They are criminals.”

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/crime-law/residents-crime-perception-based-on-painful-fact/nYpPg/

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Haughton 1 year, 1 month ago

Ms. Say_that_again

Yes. Amazing! 6 jurors that never heard all the Facts.

6 jurors never saw evidence from Trayvon Martin's cell phone of "deleted text messages regarding a transaction for a firearm".

A kid that wants to buy a gun does not need to be "goaded" into an assault.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/13/justice/zimmerman-it-firing/?hpt=hp_t1

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rocket1350 1 year, 1 month ago

If Mr. Martin just remained calm and used his intellect instead of his fists, I think he's still be alive today. Zimmerman was attacked by Mr. Martin and Mr. Martin learned the hard way than when you resort to violence to settle a dispute, it doesn't always go your way. Look at the videos of Mr. Martin fighting in the streets of Florida. He was a thug and not a victim. Live by the sword, die by it. I hope this is a lesson for our youth, no matter color or creed, use your intellect and verbal skills to address others and you'll find you get further along.

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citized 1 year, 1 month ago

I think it's great even though the jury didn't get to hear about the trouble trayvon had been causing. He should have just stopped and answered questions or better yet call cops instead of the "great" 12th grade witness she was talking to. He could have even asked her to call!

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rocket1350 1 year, 1 month ago

Why was he not in school? Turns out, he as on suspension from his high school for another crime that took place on campus.

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pcjohn 1 year, 1 month ago

That crime wasn't his fault - society is to blame for every problem that befalls minorities, in case you've forgotten. Someday, if and when these minorities decide to join the society of Americans, they will blame it on some other group. They will never give up their "victim" status.

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NorcrossDot 1 year, 1 month ago

One of the few times in my lifetime I have seen "justice" in the legal system. It is not a Justice System. Tainted by the "good ole boys" network, politics and not based on the facts. The fact was and is that due to the Florida "Stand your ground" law Not Guilty was the only verdict that could be reached. This case should have never been brought to trial. Never - the policemen that did their jobs were in some cases fired because it didn't suit the "political" entities in this country. The influence of the "main stream" media is absolutely horrendous in this country. They only print/say what the left-wing sector wants to hear. I applaud the jurors that perform their duty along the lines of the law.

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MissDaisyCook 1 year, 1 month ago

Anyone with a minimal level of intelligence knows this was the correct verdict. Since there was not an immediate arrest, the civil rights war-lords in this country had a "spell;" and pushed the state/prosecution to make an arrest to avoid a "scene." For those in the criminal justice field know that it is not unheard of for there not to be an immediate arrest. A thorough investigation is preferred to a "knee-jerk" reaction. With all the political pressure the prosecution did not have a choice but to file charges, even though they may not have believed an adequate case existed. However, they did put up all the evidence and let those throughly interested in the truth see that they did not have a good case to try. Simply because something bad happens, it does not mean a crime was committed. Somewhere during the case it was said, "it is a tragedy that Trayvon Martin is dead, but would have been a travesty if George Zimmerman had been convicted." How true.

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DB 1 year, 1 month ago

Media bias can be measured by how many times a more "juvenile" photo of either subject was used to disseminate this story.

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notblind 1 year, 1 month ago

The prosecutors knew they had NO case. They were puppets of their political masters without the strength to stand up to them. Several people have lost their jobs wrongly over this trial and I hope they make a killing along with GZ for the multiple slanders perpetrated by the BGI, the POTUS and his lackeys and the left leaning media.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 1 month ago

apparently it's politically correct for black criminals to kill a white lady for $85. Didn't see this one in the media did we..enough psuedo-outrage if you don't mind, liberals and liberal controlled media.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f9f_1338039156

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GeorgiaResident 1 year, 1 month ago

Excellent verdict. There is no way the prosecution met their burden to get a conviction on either one of the charges. I can't believe Zimmerman actually received a fair trial / verdict. I'm proud of the justice system today. It's sad to see the country is full of animals and savages that turn to violent protests and burn American flags in the street because they are too stupid and ignorant to accept the verdict. Way to show your displeasure! You don't like the verdict so you destroy cops cars and vandalize cops cars. You know you pay for that property you just damaged? Oh wait, you don't pay taxes on food stamps.

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Haughton 1 year, 1 month ago

Since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the US Department of Justice has been a "peacemaker" in national, high profile cases such as this Tragedy:

http://www.justice.gov/crs/

Almost 50 years and most citizens have never heard of this agency or involvement until now. The current administration has additional "low level" government employee problems to deal with.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/11/justice-trayvon-audio-released-doj-member-urging-a/

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mrbigt 1 year, 1 month ago

Very proud of these 6 jurors that had the backbone to take a stand and not be influenced by the power of a privledged class like al sharpton and jessie jackson. The tide is shifting like it or not  towards equal justice for ALL who choose to brake the law  no matter the color of your skin. Justice was color blind last night which is how it was intended to be in the first place according to our US constitution and if you didn't already know the civil war was over many years ago. Proud that there is one less thug that my taxes won't be supporting.

Tom in Dacula GA.

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Haughton 1 year, 1 month ago

Mr. Coolray,

Comments like yours will only serve as example to provide Zimmerman with special protection for months or years to come. Under Florida law, as most are understanding it, he is again permitted to own a gun. Self defense, in addition to special protection from a potential life threatening hate crime mostly likely.

Thank you again for your contribution.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 1 month ago

I still want to see the thug pictures on his phone of him smoking dope, throwing gang signs and all the crap that was there...I cant beieve the state wanted to charge Zimmerman with child abuse...Grasping at straws....He was a thug and thats the whole story...Sorry he lost his life because he had to act like a tough guy but sh** happpens..

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rocket1350 1 year, 1 month ago

Where were the nationwide demonstrations when Casey Anthony was found not guilty to the extend this case is?

Oh, the victim in that crime was white. Wrong color.

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