George Zimmerman found NOT GUILTY in shooting death of Trayvon Martin

10:16 PM, Jul 13, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: George Zimmerman trial, from gunshot to jury
This June 20, 2013 file photo, George Zimmerman listens as his defense counsel Mark O'Mara questions potential jurors during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida


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  • SANFORD, Florida -- After more than 16 hours of deliberation, a Florida jury has found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

    The jurors notified the judge Saturday night a little before 10 p.m. that they had reached a decision.

    WATCH: Jury finds George Zimmerman 'Not Guilty'

    Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as the jury read its verdict. Supporters of Martin's family who had gathered outside the courthouse yelled out "No! No!"

    The jury had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening. 

    Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had tears in her eyes after the six-member, all-woman jury delivered its verdict Saturday night.

    After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.

    Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, was initially charged with second-degree murder after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman said it was self-defense, but Martin's family set out to prove otherwise. 

    Jury selection for the trial began on Monday, June 10lasting almost two weeks before prosecution and defense attorneys selected a panel of six women to hear the case

    Testimony began after powerful opening statements from both the defense and the prosecution on Monday, June 24. It went on for nearly three weeks as several witnesses took the stand. 

    The jury heard testimony from people like Rachel Jeantel, the last person on the phone with Trayvon before the shooting; Chris Serino, the lead detective in the casethe mothers of both, the teen, and the security guard who shot him; and other friends, family members and experts from each side.

    George Zimmerman, himself, declined to testify.

    After final testimony, both sides argued Thursday and Friday before the jury deliberated and came to their ultimate decision on Zimmerman's fate.

    On Thursday, prosecutors portrayed Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer, as a wannabe cop, frustrated and ready to kill. State prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jury that Trayvon was an innocent teenager who is now dead because Zimmerman wrongly assumed the teen was a criminal and murdered him.

    In response, Defense attorney Mark O'Mara said Trayvon Martin decided he was going to create a confrontation that night, and instead of talking to Zimmerman, Martin walked up after those four minutes and sucker-punched him. O'Mara told the jury Trayvon Martin was not unarmed, that he used his hands and the concrete sidewalk as weapons.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report

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