NOT GUILTY: George Zimmerman Walks Free

After deliberating for over 16 hours, a jury of six women found Florida resident George Zimmerman not guilty for the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17-year old African American boy. Here’s what you need to know:

The Huffington Post reported:

Zimmerman had pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder with an affirmative defense, claiming he had shot Martin to save his own life after being attacked by the teen on Feb. 26, 2012. The trial, televised nationally on cable networks and streamed live across the Internet on various sites, kept the country captivated awaiting a verdict on the tragic events that took place that rainy night.

Following four weeks of testimony, more than a dozen witnesses and a host of controversy, Zimmerman walked out of court a free man.

Reported the Orlando Sentinel:

Zimmerman, 29, showed no emotion when the verdict was read at 10 p.m. Saturday. His wife, Shellie, sitting in the gallery behind him, began crying quietly.

“Obviously we are ecstatic with the results,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara said moments after the verdict was read. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything.”

Co-counsel Don West, though, was defiant and angry.

“I think the prosecution of George Zimmerman was despicable,” he said. “I’m glad this jury kept this tragedy from being a travesty.”

The verdict was a heart-breaking outcome for Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, who had spent the last year-and-half campaigning first for Zimmerman’s arrest then his conviction.

They were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read, but they had sat side-by-side through nearly every other day of his five week-long trial – including two weeks of jury selection – seldom showing emotion.

Reported the NY Times:

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, who lost their son a few weeks after his 17th birthday, were not in the courtroom. In a statement released early Sunday morning, their attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the family was heartbroken, and that they thanked people around the world for their support.

“Trayvon Martin will forever remain in the annals of history next to Medgar Evers and Emmett Till,” he said, “as symbols for the fight for equal justice for all.”

After the verdict, Judge Debra S. Nelson of Seminole County Court, told Mr. Zimmerman, who has been in hiding and wears a bulletproof vest outside, that his bond was released and his GPS monitor would be cut off. “You have no further business with the court,” she said.

Outside the courthouse, perhaps a hundred protesters who had been gathering through the night, their numbers building as the hours passed, began pumping their fists in the air, waving placards and chanting “No justice, no peace!” Sheriff’s deputies lined up inside the courthouse, watching the crowd, who were chanting peacefully, but intently.

You can watch some of the protests here:

You can watch the verdict being read out here: