He was acquitted of both charges, of second degree murder, and manslaughter.
The jurors worked all day Saturday and in to the night. Unsure of what conviction on individual charges might mean to George Zimmerman’s future, they asked for clarification about the law.
The court in turn asked for a specific question. When the jury was satisfied, the response came.
A manslaughter verdict would mean jurors rejected Zimmerman’s claim he killed in self defense and “intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death” of Trayvon, according to Florida’s definition of the charge.
“It clearly means man two is off the table,” said Randy Reep, a Florida criminal defense lawyer, who was referring to the second degree murder charge. “If you watch the judge give any input on instructions you’ll be very surprised how little she really gives. There must be an element of manslaughter that the jury is struggling with and they were hoping to have the judge clear it up for them. But she won’t.”
The case demonstrated an uncertainty as to the actual events of the evening Trayvon Martin lost his life. There was no doubt that Zimmerman fired the fatal shot, but the circumstances surrounding the incident were known only to two men, and one of them was dead.
This became a case more of racial profiling than what the actual circumstances might have been.
Both the defense and the prosecutors presented believable accounts of that evening. But, in the end, the facts could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman intentionally ended the life of young Martin.
As the events of February, 2012 were replayed in court, Zimmerman remained virtually without emotion. The parents of Trayvon Martin, who was 17 at the time of his death, generally appeared numb to the proceeding.
Tonight George Zimmerman will be a free man, after his not guilty verdict. The city is prepared for demonstrations, which they hope will never come
Alfred James reporting