Not Guilty: Zimmerman Goes Free

Jury clears him in shooting of Trayvon Martin

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 13, 2013 9:04 PM CDT | Updated Jul 13, 2013 9:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – George Zimmerman is a free man. After about 16 hours of deliberation, the jury found him not guilty tonight in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, reports AP. The judge immediately told Zimmerman he was free to go home: "You have no further business with the court." Jurors found Zimmerman innocent of second-degree murder charges and opted not to convict him of lesser manslaughter charges, either. Zimmerman's immediate reaction was low-key—he gave a slight smile and shook his attorneys' hands, reports CNN. (You can watch via Twitter.) He later hugged his family, including his tearful wife, Shellie.

"We charged what we believed we could prove," said State Attorney Angela Corey afterward. "We believe we have brought out the truth on behalf of Trayvon Martin." Defense attorney Mark O'Mara countered that Zimmerman "was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense." Martin's parents were not in the courtroom to hear the verdict. About 100 people were gathered outside the courthouse, and most of them weren't happy when it was announced, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Cries of "No!, no!" rang out. Zimmerman, 29, faced a life sentence had he been convicted.

George Zimmerman, right, is congratulated by his defense team.
George Zimmerman, right, is congratulated by his defense team.   (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Pool)
Darrsie Jackson, center, reacts after hearing the verdict with her children Linzey Stafford, left, 10, and Shauntina Stafford, 11.
Darrsie Jackson, center, reacts after hearing the verdict with her children Linzey Stafford, left, 10, and Shauntina Stafford, 11.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
George Zimmerman's family, including Gladys Zimmerman, center, celebrate.
George Zimmerman's family, including Gladys Zimmerman, center, celebrate.   (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Pool)
Demonstrators outside the Seminole County Courthouse react after hearing the verdict.
Demonstrators outside the Seminole County Courthouse react after hearing the verdict.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Hanna Brianna, 5, holds a sign in front of her home in Sanford, Fla.
Hanna Brianna, 5, holds a sign in front of her home in Sanford, Fla.   (AP Photo/Mike Brown)
George Zimmerman talks to court security investigator Robert Hemmert during a recess.
George Zimmerman talks to court security investigator Robert Hemmert during a recess.   (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
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