George Zimmerman Trial Jury Deliberations: Locked in jury room, what will jurors consider?

9:10 AM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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  • Sanford, Florida -- George Zimmerman's defense attorneys have up to three hours to make their final case.

    They want to convince jurors that George Zimmerman was a concerned neighbor, being beaten and afraid for his life when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

    Then prosecutors will get an hour for a rebuttal -- a final push to say Zimmerman assumed 17-year-old Martin was a criminal, so he tracked and murdered him.

    Once both sides are done, the jury will deliberate -- likely Friday afternoon. What will they discuss and consider as they debate Zimmerman's fate?

    We talked with Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter with our partners at USA Today. She's been in court for every minute of this trial.

    She says it's clear the jurors do know the nation is watching their decision, even though they're sequestered.

    Based on the answers jurors gave to questions during jury selection, "we know that this jury knows how big this case is," Alcindor said.

    "Maybe they don't feel pressured by that, but they definitely know that this case is big and that the nation's watching them." 

    When the jurors start to deliberate, Alcindor says they will face a few key questions -- starting with the struggle that began after Zimmerman followed Martin on a dark, rainy night last year.

    "Who initiated this fight? Who started it? Could it have been avoided? They are also going to have to decide who was screaming in the last moments when Trayvon Martin was shot," Alcindor said.

    "And they are going to have to wonder whether or not George Zimmerman can be found guilty of anything after shooting an unarmed teen that he said was attacking him."

    Because of a change made by the judge on Thursday, jurors have a new, third possible outcome to discuss while they're locked in that jury room: manslaughter.

    "The experts I've talked to say that this could be a compromise verdict," Alcindor said.

    If some jurors feel Zimmerman is guilty of 2nd degree murder -- which is killing with a depraved mind and no regard for human life -- but some don't think that was proven, they could now find him guilty of manslaughter, Alcindor said.

    It's a lesser charge that means between 9 1/4 and 30 years in prison. Second-degree murder carries a maximum of life in prison. Zimmerman could also be found not guilty of either crime.

    We expect the jury to begin deliberating this afternoon. There's no way to know how long that deliberation will last.

    Whenever a verdict is reached, Sanford Police say they will be putting extra officers on the streets to respond to the public's reaction -- peaceful or otherwise.

    Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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