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Jury Finds George Zimmerman Not Guilty

  • U.S.
  • 07.14.13 12:26 AM EDT

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

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.

Jurors heard two different portraits of Zimmerman and had to decide whether he was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense because he feared for his life.
 

EARLIER:

In February 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, a member of a volunteer neighborhood watch, was in his car when he encountered Martin, walking unarmed in a gated neighborhood in Sanford, Florida, where Martin was staying. There was a scuffle and Martin ended up dead. Zimmerman was briefly taken into custody and then released, saying that he'd killed Martin in self-defense.

The 44 delay between that night and Zimmerman's arrest caused protests and outcry across the country -- with civil rights advocates saying that the murder of Martin, who was black, was racially motivated. Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, was ultimately arrested and charged with second-degree murder. 

The trial of George Zimmerman began on June 10, 2013, in front of a jury of six women, five white and one Hispanic. Get a full rundown of the trial here.