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

whazup

You better call ABC, CBS, and NBC Dog because they didn't get your memo about Oakland, CA.

deertracker

If someone is NOT hyped up, why the need for calling for calm?

S w Rand 2016

re: Deertracker: "If someone is NOT hyped up, why the need for calling for calm?"

Err, what? Is Obama clairvoyant? He can just predict whether anyone will lash out in anger?

And, by the way, do you honestly think that, out of all of the people on this planet, no White people or Hispanic people have been attacked by someone who was angry about the incident from the time it happened up until the moment the verdict was delivered?
Odds are that a number of Whites and Hispanics have been targeted since then, but it didn't become a national media event. And if a president wanted to comment on the situation, he should certainly also ask people to remain calm and behave responsibly.

BULLISDEEP's picture
BULLISDEEP

Obama: 'The jury has spoken' in Zimmerman case
. http://www.usatoday.com/story/ne...

.Obama: Honor Trayvon Martin by battling gun violence
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/...

tsgoirish

The court system worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UgtaBkdnMe

As I read through these posts, all I can picture is a little teacup chihuahua typing under the screen name Big Dog. LMBO !

mikeylikesit

lots of butt hurt libs on here..

Centralohioan

After reading countless blogs on this site and having read their responses, I think that Deertracker and the Big Dog should just get it over with and get a room...

deertracker

Now that's some funny stuff!! LOL!

grumpy

Only if we were forced to watch.

UgtaBkdnMe

Arf ! Arf !

EZOB

Contango,
I read that TM'S parents had already settled for one million on some housing thing and would soon be filing charges against Zimmerman. I'll try and find the story.
You can join the service at 17 and for a lot of crimes, you can be charged as an adult at 17. Had TM killed or seriously wounded Zimmerman he possibly would have been charged. As it was, the wounds were sufficient to charge a person for at least an assualt charge.

The Big Dog's back

So what?

JudgeMeNot

Zimmer is free to go.

VTX Rider

Yes. He is.

EZOB

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article......

Just did a search. It was against the Home owners association.

The Big Dog's back

So what?

JudgeMeNot

Zimmer is free to go.

VTX Rider

Yes. He is.

EZOB

Little Puppy,
I just knew you'd be one of the first to add a comment. You should have realized that once O'Bama involved Himself the whole thing would get "Clouded-Up". To be more specific, like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, or the IRS. You stood a better chance at conviction if He and "Your" other leaders had stayed out from the beginning.

The Big Dog's back

So what?

grumpy

Yes that is what he and Hillary said when the Ambassador was killed. Do you wish to go work for such a boss?

JudgeMeNot

Zimmer is free to go.

VTX Rider

Yes. He is.

mikeylikesit

butt hurt

gramafun

Does anyone remember when Trayvon's mother stated that she "forgave Zimmerman" in a press conference early on in this fiasco? The very next day, Al Sharpton at her side made a POINT of stating she did not mean that, but that it was in a "spiritual sense" and that she wanted Zimmerman "tried and convicted" to the fullest extent of the law. They were asking the State to intervene and arrest Zimmerman? I do. I remember that like it was yesterday. THAT is when this turned into a racially motivated problem. That is when the marches began. Until that time, both Mr and Mrs Martin where just satisfied to let this pass and move forward. They were not looking for a huge mess to start over their son's death.

But because of people like Sharpton, Ms Ali, Jesse Jackson and others who keep stirring the race pot, it because a racially motivated problem and not one of stand your ground. But the law on trial WAS stand your ground and not a racially motivated killing. Both men held a racial problem. That is obvious in their statements. Both men had problems with they way they felt....but that wasn't what was on trial......Stand your ground was on trial. And when it came right down to it, that is what the jury was left with to fit the evidence to. And they did what they could to deal with it. Try as they could, they couldn't fit the evidence to anything the prosecution offered.

I watched this trial EVERY DAY, there was nothing presented that helped with a prosecution that would lead them to any other conclusion than what they came up with.

Its over, people. Our own prejudices are not going to change a thing. And that is what we seem to want to argue. How is that helping? When we do that, we take us back to a time when our own ignorance was out of control. I thought we all grew past that. We should be ashamed of that. The Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons and Ms Ali's are winning again and laughing all the way to the bank. They hope they can stir things up. They hope they can insight the problems again so that we are at each other's throats. Are we dumb enough to give them that satisfaction??? I sincerely hope not. Put them back in their boxes and keep them there. This country does not need them pushing us back to that time when the hate mongers where in control. As Martin lUTHER King said: "Let Freedom Ring" but do it with peace.

The Big Dog's back

Yep, it wouldn't be people like rush windbag or glenn beck or mark levin or the other racist right wing radio hosts. Nah.

Mystery_Cheese

So what?

arnmcrmn

Trials over...not guilty. Enjoy your day

been-there-done-that

Why have a Trial? The guy was guilty the minute it happened. Should have never been charged. Uninformed people the President included decided he was guilty the minute the media reported. Had a full trial and proved he was innocent and he is still guilty!News Media keeps fanning the RACE Flames. One of the Jurors who saw ALL of the facts!! said it wasnt about Race!!STILL the media keeps calling it Race and keeps interviewing UNINFORMED people who call it a RACE CRIME!!Oh yea and keep giving these animals who are protesting/rioting lots of media attention with justification by news media!We want answers????????????????The answer was given but wasnt the answer the government-special interest groups and the news media wanted. This country is F!!!!!!!!!!!

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