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
Zimmerman Verdict: Not Guilty
George Zimmerman, right, is congratulated by his defense team.   (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Pool)

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. (More George Zimmerman trial stories.)

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