On Saturday, 29 year-old neighborhood-watchman George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin whose killing unleashed furious debate across the United States over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.
Zimmerman, who could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter, reportedly blinked and barely smiled when the verdict was announced in a Florida courtroom.
Xfinity reports, “the jury of six women, all but one of them white, reached a verdict of not guilty after deliberating well into the night. Their names have not been made public, and they declined to speak to the media.”
Martin’s mother and father were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read; supporters of his family who had gathered outside yelled “No! No!” upon learning of the not guilty verdict.
The teen’s father, Tracy, reacted on Twitter: “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.”
His mother also said on Twitter that she appreciated the prayers from supporters.
“Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have,” she wrote.
The jurors considered nearly three weeks of often wildly conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor on the rainy night the 17-year-old was shot while walking through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.
Defense attorneys said the case was classic self-defense, claiming Martin knocked Zimmerman down and was slamming the older man’s head against the concrete sidewalk when Zimmerman fired his gun.
“We’re ecstatic with the results,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara after the verdict. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense.”
Despite the racially charged nature of the case, race was barely mentioned at the trial. Even after the verdict, prosecutors said the case was not about race. Plus, the jurors had to sort out clashing testimony from 56 witnesses in all, including police, neighbors, friends and family members before making their final decision.