Following a weeks-long trial and a case that has captivated the nation for a year and a half, a Sanford, Fla., jury has reached a verdict in the George Zimmerman case:
Not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
They reached a verdict after deliberating all day Saturday. Late in the evening, jurors asked for clarification on the instructions regarding manslaughter.
At about 6 p.m., lawyers for both sides appeared in court where Judge Debra Nelson conferred with them about their question and then recessed court.
Just before 10 p.m., they reached a verdict and acquitted Zimmerman of all charges in the controversial case – one ultimately filled with reasonable doubt.
A conviction would mean jurors rejected Zimmerman’s claim he killed in self defense, and “intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death” of Martin.
Ultimately, they determined he was justified under the letter of the law.
Whether those laws are flawed is a different topic altogether, but after 16 hours of deliberations, jurors felt that the state’s case was not strong enough.
Unable to establish what happened in the confrontation that left Martin dead, prosecutors could not prove murder or manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt.
Persuading jurors of who was the aggressor that night was the primary goal of both sides, and the defense seemed to prevail throughout the trial.
The shouts on the 911 calls and whether it was Martin or Zimmerman heard screaming for help was a point of contention, both disputed and inconclusive.
Experts also testified that Zimmerman’s bloody head injuries could have been caused by blunt contact with concrete, which seemed to bolster his case.
Prosecutors said in a press conference after the fact that they respect the verdict, but are disappointed just the same, believing he is in fact guilty.
In the end, they said Zimmerman profiled Martin, Zimmerman followed Martin, and Zimmerman exceeded the boundaries of his right to self-defense.
What do you think? Did the jury reach the correct verdict?