George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., resident, who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in February 2012, was found not guilty on all charges Saturday night.
After three weeks of testimony, the jury decided that Zimmerman, 29, had not deliberately pursued Martin and started the fight that led to his death. The six-woman panel instead believed Zimmerman’s claims that he had shot the hoodie-clad Martin in self-defense after being thrown to the sidewalk by the teenager, who then slammed Zimmerman’s head repeatedly against the concrete.
After deliberating for two days, the jury acquitted Zimmerman of both murder and the lesser charge of manslaughter.
When the verdict was read, Seminole County Court Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman that his GPS monitor would be cut off and he has “no further business with the court.”
Under Florida law, prosecutors had to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was not protecting himself from further harm in shooting the teenager. And since only Zimmerman and Martin were at the scene of the crime, there was little evidence to support such a charge.