George Zimmerman

Zimmerman cleared in shooting of unarmed teen

George Zimmerman July 9, 2013 Photo Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, PoolSANFORD, Florida (AP) – Neighborhood watch volunteer 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. Their names have not been made public, and they declined to speak to the media.

Martin’s mother and father were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read; supporters of his family who had gathered outside yelled “No! No!” upon learning of the not guilty verdict.

The teen’s father, Tracy, reacted on Twitter: “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.”

His mother also said on Twitter that she appreciated the prayers from supporters.

“Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have,” she wrote.

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.

“We’re ecstatic with the results,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara after the verdict. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense.”

Another member of his defense team, Don West, said he was pleased the jury “kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty.”

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.”

O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, said his client is aware he has to be cautious and protective of his safety.

“There still is a fringe element that wants revenge,” O’Mara said. “They won’t listen to a verdict of not guilty.”

The verdict came a year and a half after civil rights protesters angrily demanded Zimmerman be prosecuted. That anger appeared to return Saturday night outside the courthouse, at least for some who had been following the case.

Rosie Barron, 50, and Andrew Perkins, 55, both black residents of Sanford, stood in the parking lot of the courthouse and wept.

“I at least thought he was going to get something, something,” Barron said.

Added her brother: “How the hell did they find him not guilty?”

Perkins was so upset he was shaking. “He killed somebody and got away with murder,” Perkins shouted, looking in the direction of the courthouse. “He ain’t getting no probation or nothing.”

Several Zimmerman supporters also were outside the courthouse, including a brother and sister quietly rejoicing that Zimmerman was acquitted. Both thought the jury made the right decision in finding Zimmerman not guilty – they felt that Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense.

Cindy Lenzen, 50, of Casslebury, and her brother, 52-year-old Chris Bay, stood watching the protesters chant slogans such as, “the whole system’s guilty.”

Lenzen and Bay – who are white – called the entire case “a tragedy,” especially for Zimmerman.

“It’s a tragedy that he’s going to suffer for the rest of his life,” Bay said. “No one wins either way. This is going to be a recurring nightmare in his mind every night.”

Meanwhile, authorities in Martin’s hometown of Miami said the streets were quiet, with no indication of problems. The neighborhood where Martin’s father lives in Miami Gardens was equally quiet.

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 Barack 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 the case 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 of the few mentions of race came from witness Rachel Jeantel, the Miami teen who was talking to Martin by phone moments before he was shot. She testified that he described being followed by a “creepy-ass 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 police 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 muttered, “F—— punks. These a——-. They 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.


Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:

WE are white have many black friends. LOVE MY ARMY HUSBAND!

Patricia Nelson says:

I am Patricia’s husband. I was a soldier. I had a friend named Parker. he was black we were stationed in Germany We were attacked In a pub in Bad Hersfeld. Parkfield almost killed all of of them. They were Turks They loved to kill Americans, and they would have been happy to kill us. and a month later an Amercian Liutenant came up and tapped Parker on the shoulder he was immediately knocked out by Parker. The Liutenant Colonel who tried Parker kicked him out of the U.S. ARMY immediately. Parker was my friend and a true American. I have served in three American Wars and am a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


Valerie says:

When the prosecutors took questions from the media after the verdict Angela Corey claimed this was never about race but did not the prosecutors tell the jury that this was racial profiling, I am confused. Anyway, the verdict was correct and had TM went on about his business, never put his hands on GZ, and if his parents taught him about the dangers of idling around on a dark rainy night because it would bring nothing but trouble and now see what happened, if you go looking for trouble you will surely find it. I don’t believe this confrontation was started by GZ simply because he does have the balls to do it, he just finished it. He did what anyone would have done if they were in his shoes!

mackenzie says:


Pink Dazzies says:

I am so happy that my non racial attitude is spreading , what the heck is wrong with ppl? For real, I am so glad that the System finally worked for the best, I lost my son as well and No one can EVER Understand what that is like, but I do know that if MY SON was beating someone and he had no marks on him, and things were the same, no color, that is just not what this is about, but I know that I would be pretty upset that my son hurt someone to the point that they had to kill him in self defense. Shame shame shame. I am from America I am half Italian and half irish so call me what you will , it just shows how ignorant you are…………. Just like the rest of Clan in Sanford. Have a Peace Love and great happy night , I am ………….

Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


mackenzie says:

, why?? You can’t just go up and punch someone for No Reason!

loveBunny says:

The Prosecution failed very badly with this case.

Pink Dazzies says:


Rock rock says:


mackenzie says:

What are you saying????

mackenzie says:

Thank you Racist! George was.from Peruvian Decent!

mackenzie says:

You are a Sick Racist!

Pink Dazzies says:

FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pink Dazzies says:

You weren’t telling me that were you????????????
I am having to live here in Florida and I know that the system here is so broken and messed up it is just sad… God Bless you
Go GZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mackenzie says:

Yup! Yup! We All got Justice!

mackenzie says:

Thank you, you are soooo very right!

mackenzie says:


mackenzie says:

To Whom are You saying this to, just curious????


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