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article imageGeorge Zimmerman is found not guilty in death of Trayvon Martin

By Marcus Hondro     Jul 14, 2013 in Crime
SANFORD, FLA. — Seventeen months after shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman has been found not criminally responsible by a jury. Zimmerman appeared calm after the verdict was read out and he left the courtroom a free man.
The six-woman jury found Zimmerman, 29, not guilty of second-degree murder after deliberating 16 hours following the closing of final arguments on Thursday. Judge Debra Nelson had instructed the jury they could find Zimmerman guilty of the lesser-charge of manslaughter but they did not do so.
Trayvon Martin shot in Feb. of 2012
The shooting took place on Feb. 26, 2012 and initially Zimmerman, who is Hispanic while Martin, 17, was African-American, was not charged. However, the case became public knowledge and protests lead to a re-opening of the case in March. Sanford police Chief Bill Lee lost his job over refusing to charge Zimmerman, saying he did not have the evidence to do so. On April 11, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey filed a charge of second-degree murder against Zimmerman, who turned himself in.
The case became nationally and internationally known and for many, including the NCAAP, who have condemned the not-guilty verdict, Zimmerman was guilty of racially profiling Martin, something he denied.
Zimmerman claims that after calling Sanford police to say he was watching a man acting suspiciously in his townhouse complex, he did as instructed and stopped following Martin, who was staying there with family. Martin then attacked him, Zimmerman claims, saying Martin was beating him so badly he pulled his gun in fear for his own life.
Prosecutor: We "brought out truth" for Trayvon
Important witnesses in the trial were two who were there that night. John Good was in his home in the housing complex and heard a fight and ran out to see, he says, Martin on top of Zimmerman, punching him. He went back inside his home to call for help and did not see Zimmerman fire his gun.
Another witness, Jonathan Manalo, told the jury he came upon the scene after Martin was shot and said that it appeared Zimmerman, who had a broken nose and was cut and bleeding from the back of his head, had "got his butt beat."
Special Prosecutor Corey said that the trial was important and that though they did not get the result they were hoping for, she believed the prosecution did their "best to bring due process to all involved and we believe we have brought out the truth on behalf of Trayvon Martin."
Others who believe Zimmerman was guilty have said that changes have been enacted, and are being enacted, in Sanford, and throughout the U.S., that will work to prevent African-Americans from being victims of such a tragedy again.
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