Jurors deliberated for more than 16 hours over two days, and tonight, a verdict was reached in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was found NOT guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Although Zimmerman's mother and father and wife were in the court for the reading of the verdict, Martin's parents were not present.
So far, the reaction from those following the trial and camped out in front of the courthouse has ranged from teary disappointment to somber reflection. On Twitter, the verdict immediately sparked reactions of anger and disgust, some even horrifyingly predicting Zimmerman will become the victim of vigilante justice.
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Some trial watchers have said the verdict is unsurprising, given the prosecution's "weak case" and inability to prove what happened in the moments leading up to the physical confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin. Thus, reasonable doubt lead to this outcome. For the jury to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, the prosecution would have had to prove that Zimmerman had “a depraved mind without regard for human life” when he shot Martin. Meanwhile, the jury would have gone with the lesser manslaughter conviction if they believed Zimmerman had no lawful reason to kill Martin.
Ultimately, though, the verdict means the jury of six women found that Zimmerman justifably used deadly force and reasonably believed that such force was "necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm" to himself, which is Florida's definition of self-defense.
No matter how one feels about the verdict, it seems like just about everyone can agree that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death is an indisputable tragedy. In turn, both sides should agree that this is a time for somber reflection as opposed to any sort of extreme reaction one way or the other.
Watch here for the reading of the verdict ...
What's your reaction to the verdict?
Image via USA Today