Zimmerman cleared in shooting of Trayvon Martin

Neighborhood watch volunteer could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter
Associated Press
Jul 14, 2013

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 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 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.

 

Comments

arnmcrmn

Way to much evidence pointing toward self defense. When the forensics point that way.....case closed.

2cents

Thank god it is over, no winners either way, a regional story all ginned up by the media to be a racial thing, and fueled from a comment by our president!

There are a few things I do not understand. Why do we call our president (black) when he has a white mother? Why do we call George Zimmerman a white / Hispanic when he has a white mother and a Peruvian father? Should we call our president a Caucasian / African? It always appears that people like to choose the persons particular parent when it is to their advantage, for example I know people that wanted free stuff so they think “how far back can I go, do I have a minority in my family” Or they choose the other parent if they feel threatened, “your just picking on me because I’m black”

The media also always used the phrase, Travon Martin, a 17 year old child, but never used the phrase George Zimmerman, a 29 year old man, why keep throwing in the age thing?

Another note, there is a sign on the front of my bank; it is the symbol “no guns allowed inside”. Just above that sign is another sign that says “remove hoodies and sunglasses before entering”. So the bank is profiling too? Where does it end, personally when I see somebody walking with their head covered with a hoodie and there is no blizzard or downpour I think suspiciously, I guess that comes with the idea, why is this person hiding their identity?

It happened, there was a trial and it’s over, no winner. If people choose to riot and cause trouble, they are not seeking justice, they just want to cause unrest because they like to.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

2cents, in a way, I do certainly agree with you about the "ginning" up of this case by the media. But we cannot discount the role that the President and Attorney General in exacerbating this situation. Heck, they even helped to fund "Anti-Zimmerman" rallies in Florida during the period prior to the trial.

The Big Dog's back

pt, who funded zim's $30,000 a month living expenses? Who paid for the lawyers? Who paid for the "experts" to testify? Once again, bigoted views.

deertracker

I agree. PT you are way off the mark. The President and the AG did NOTHING inappropriate. Amazes me how some of you and Florida LE have very little regard for a black kid's life!

Richard Bebb

Enough of the black-white things, its nauseating. One person, one, made this a race issue and that was Martin when he profiled Zimmerman as a creepy a^^ cracker. Martin had 4 min window to walk away and go home and instead he chose to confront Zimmerman and attack him and it cost him his life. Those were the facts of the case that was confirmed by a jury. Anyone can come on her and make guesses as to what they think happened but the facts of this case and the jury agreed that Zimmerman was right in his actions.

stayfit

In 2008, 2,947 children died gun-related deaths. A black child is 10-times more likely to suffer a gun-related death than a white child (Children's Defense Fund).

It amazes me that people try to make one death a Civil Rights issue when there are innocent children gunned down in their own neighborhoods every year.

My opinion: There was no Civil Rights issue and had Trayvon been white, they would have never charged Zimmerman. Had Zimmerman been black, he would have never been charged.

Mark O'Mara (Zimmerman's defense attorney) said that had Zimmerman been black he would have never been charged.

There is plenty of violence that is not reported extensively in mass media. It sold papers to put angelic picture of Trayvon at age 12 and he was likely charged to appease a divided country that made their mind up about the trial before facts were released.

Quoted by Zimmerman's other attorney: "A tragedy could have become a travesty."

Had Zimmerman been convicted of second degree murder for valuing his own life, that would have been a travesty.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

http://nationalreport.net/obama-...

Still think he's got nothing to do with pushing this agenda?

There were NO winners in this case.

Why does the President not seem to give a tinker's damn about the 2000+ homicides that have taken place in his own home town since he took office?

I really find Larry Elder's tweet from earlier today rather thought provoking. "With OJ, the state had mountain of evidence. Zealots called him innocent. In Zimmerman, the state had nothing. Zealots called him guilty." @larryelder

I respecfully disagree with the thought that I am "way off mark."

By the way, President Obama has spent his entire political career (both state and national) pushing for continuing unfettered access to abortion, up to and including late term "partial birth" abortions. It is estimated that since 1973, over 13 million abortions to African American mothers have occurred. http://www.blackgenocide.org/bla... I'm not attempting to compare apples to oranges, but it is also a huge issue.

Trayvon Martin's death was tragic, and I wouldn't wish this situation upon anyone, but with the way that Florida's "Stand your Ground" legislation was written, the prosecution's case was not one that was going to lead to Zimmerman's conviction.

The Big Dog's back

Yep, President Obama is the 1st President to weigh in on things like this. Oh, wait a minute, didn't George W. Bush insert himself in the Terri Schiavo case? Made a special trip back to DC to reconvene the Senate? Oh, but he was a WHITE President weighing in on a WHITE matter.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

You're right.....I remember that speech where he stated that if he had a sister, she'd be just like Terri Schiavo.

Sorry, Big Dog...you're now comparing apples and anvils. I'm not buying it at all.

The Big Dog's back

Nope, he didn't say that. He and the Repub Congress wasted time and money on LEGISLATION. Maybe the President should get a law against zim.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

Well, Big Dog, I did notice that you did a great job deflecting the points I made in an earlier post.

I think we can both agree that the death of Trayvon Martin is tragic, but do you really think that if Zimmerman was African American, and Martin white, or even African American that we'd even hear about this situation here in Ohio? I'd say not.

We all know who Lacy Peterson was. We all know who Natalie Holloway was. Why do we know who they were? It is because the media decided that their faces were ones that they could splash on their programming, and milk the story for days, weeks, months.

The exact same thing happened in the Martin case. The media decided that this case was worthy of that same sort of attention.

Unfortunately, when they "glorify" one case, we tend to become desensitized to the fact that during the time in which this case played out, thousands of individuals were murdered. Got a list of those names.....because I sure know that I don't.

The Big Dog's back

Actually if the police would have acted properly in the 1st place we wouldn't have heard about this case either.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

Do you mean the same police department that, based upon the laws that were on the books in the state of Florida, found no grounds to arrest George Zimmerman?

http://www.nationalreview.com/co...

Are they just supposed to "make something up" to appease the folks that didn't care whether or not there were any laws actually broken? That is called an ex post facto law, and would be unconstitutional.

deertracker

You have to investigate to find those reasons!

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

Double post....my bad

herbie_hancock

"Regard for a black kids life" That's ironic considering he was SMASHING SOMEONES ELSE'S FACE IN. What are you trying to get at? Is his life worth any less than a white kids? YOUR the ones bringing race into it NO ONE ELSE. What does Florida or the police have to do with anything? He WAS charged with murder and manslaughter. It was his peers, all women and mothers that acquitted him based on the EVIDENCE. Racism won't die because folks like YOU won't let it die. The "race card" loses its value if you use it all the time. If you can blame anyone for Zimmerman "getting off" its a combination of the evidence and Trevon. The caliber of his character was determined by the way he was acting at the time of his death, not as the sweet 11 year old boy with skittles and tea in the picture that the media kept flashing around.

The Big Dog's back

The race card?

happyfeet64

Look Zimmerman wasn't getting his face smashed in -he barely had any injuries to the back of his head, please I've had my head smashed into the sidewalk(once by a LAPD officer) and received alot worse injuries than what Zimmerman had. As for why didn't Trayvon call the cops ? Same reason why when I lived in LA, I wouldn't think of calling them- to protect and serve is a major joke in some communities in this country. And if I recall didn't Zimmerman call the cops and was told by Dispatch to NOT follow Trayvon? Yet he did and now a family buried their child and he walks with no consequences. As for all the other issues, race, abortion, the slaughter of children in our communities around our country-all are tactics designed to distract from only one thing I'm seeing. If a person is in my back yard, I can shoot and kill them with no repercussions by saying I feared for my life and who can dispute that if they're laying dead at my feet. It's straight BS.

herbie_hancock

So he should of let him slam his head into the sidewalk a couple more times before he shot him, because in YOUR experience concrete doesn't hurt that much, apparently you have seen all the evidence in the case and are qualified to judge whether or not he felt threatened...makes sense, why aren't we just listening to you and your vast treasure trove of knowledge. Zimmerman is free. Innocent. The Law hasn't changed. And the majority of people would do the exact same thing instead of laying there as a limp noodle because "maybe it didn't hurt or maybe he'll stop". Meanwhile kids both black and white are killed/raped by the thousands while literately doing nothing but riding their bikes or playing (not beating someone), yet here you are (and the NAACP) protesting this case, yet claim "race" has nothing to do about it. You know why people visit the SR.com? its not because of the "news" its because we enjoy reading all the stuff posted the nitwits that think people in nature are good and everyone deserves the benefit of a doubt until they smash your face in...or in your case until smashing your face in hurts enough to react.

S w Rand 2016

re: happyfeet: "And if I recall didn't Zimmerman call the cops and was told by Dispatch to NOT follow Trayvon?"

Are you sure? I thought the police officer merely said "We don't need you to do that," as they are not legally allowed to order you to stop following someone in a public place.
I was looking at "The Talk" for a second and one of the hosts, a Black mother, had pointed this out.

Excerpt from the Wiki: "the show currently features Julie Chen as the moderator, Sheryl Underwood, Aisha Tyler, and Sharon Osbourne discussing the day's latest headlines while usually tying in the show's theme of motherhood or at least parenthood, such as by giving their opinions "through the eyes of mothers"."

goofus

Private, NOT government donations troll!!!!!!!!

tk

@2cents. Just another example of how people can get their facts wrong. Zimmerman has a white father and a Preuvian mother.

2cents

Sorry, I reversed them, if he had a more spanish "Mesa" for a last name would this have been racially ginned up?

arnmcrmn

I bet MSNBC and CNN are having a hay day with this.......

Contango

Re: "MSNBC and CNN"

Oughta help their ratings for AT LEAST a day or two. :)

Did you see Chuck Todd's frustration?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com...

Contango

Wonder if TM's parents will bring civil charges against Zimmerman?

Burden of proof levels are lower.

sandtown born a...

they have probably already started the process.

KnuckleDragger

From what I've read they can't. Florida law doesn't allow lawsuits against the victim in cases of self defense. I hate using the DailyKos, but they already did the research into it.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/20...

The Big Dog's back

If I was a right wingnut I would hate using the Daily Kos too.

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