George Zimmerman (right) is congratulated by his defense team after being found not guilty by the jury. (photo: George W. Green, AP)
After 22 days of testimony and agruments, 16 hours of deliberations, George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter on Saturday.
The verdict is the culmination of a case that captured the nation’s attention and will undoubtedly be imprinted in America’s history. The not guilty verdict means the jury of six women found that Zimmerman justifiably used deadly force and reasonably believed that such force was “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” to himself — Florida’s definition of self-defense.
Zimmerman showed no emotion as the verdict was read. After the verdict was read, he smiled slightly and shook hands with his lawyers.
The jurors decided Zimmerman didn’t “intentionally commit an act or acts that caused death” or demonstrate a “depraved mind without regard for human life” –Florida’s definitions of manslaughter and second degree murder, respectively.
In a press conference after the verdict, Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara said his client will now need to get on with his life.
“I think he’s going to be great. I think he is still worried. Hopefully everyone will respect the jury’s verdict,” O’Mara said.
He offered his sympathies to Trayvon’s parents for the loss of their son. But he said despite the national protests that erupted after the shooting, the case had nothing to do with civil rights.
Although it appeared to be a win win for Zimmerman’s team, it was without question a defeat for the prosecution.
Lead prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said, “I am disappointed in the verdict but I respect it. We accept the jury’s verdict.”
State Attorney Angela Corey said the case was a challenge. But she said, “That scream stops when the shot was fired and we always believed it wasTrayvon Martin.”
This case has gripped the nation since the shooting happened on Feb. 26, 2012 and will forever have a lasting impression be it good, bad or indifferent. It’s clear that the “justice system” doesn’t think George Zimmerman is responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death, so the question should be who is? So now that we have a verdict what can we do as a community and people now to ensure that young innocent black boys have the right to walk to a store, around their communities without fear of not returning home and be killed because someone assumes they are “up to no good” ?