After a heated trial and intense jury deliberations all closely followed by the entire nation, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the second degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on July 13.
A story that began with George Zimmerman, 29, tragically and controversially shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, 17, has finally come to an end, as George was found not guilty by a jury of six women on July 13.
George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty
The jury deliberated for over 16 hours total before arriving at their decision.
George’s family stood tensely in the Florida courtroom as the lead juror read the decision. Martin’s family was not in the courtroom. After the verdict was read, Zimmerman smiled and shook his lawyers’ hands, according to CNN.
The jury basically had three choices: to find Zimmerman guilty of second degree murder, guilty of manslaughter, or not guilty of all charges. To convict Zimmerman of second degree murder, the jury would have had to find that the killing was “done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent,” according to CNN.
Evidently, the jury believed there was not enough proof to support that charge.
Jury Deliberates Through The Weekend In Trayvon Martin Case
Perhaps sensing the urgency of this trial, the jury decided to deliberate over the weekend to come to a swift decision. They had already been discussing the case for three and a half hours before taking a night recess on July 12, according to CNN.
“All of us are depending on you to make a wise and legal decision,” the judge frankly stated.
Since this trial commenced, it has been clear that the verdict would be divisive and could possibly stir public unrest. As a precaution, authorities in Seminole County had prepared for violent reactions.
“As Americans, we entrust our fellow citizens with a solemn duty,” Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger said shortly after the jury was dismissed. “At times, as individuals, we may not agree with this verdict. But as communities within our country, we respect the rule of law.”
We can only hope that no one will make more violence out of an already violent case, but it is good to hear that authorities are prepared just in case.
George, a neighborhood watch guard, shot and killed Trayon in what he claimed was self-defense on February 26, 2012.
It is such a tragic case, and the only thing we can take solace in is that the justice system has done its duty, and hopefully we can all move on now that a verdict has been reached.
WATCH: George Zimmerman Trial — Closing Arguments
— Andrew Gruttadaro