George Zimmerman_Trayvon Verdict

As a nation sat watching with bated breath on Saturday night, after a day and a half of deliberation starting on Friday afternoon, the jury in The State of Florida v. Zimmerman Trayvon Martin “Stand Your Ground” case in Sanford, Florida, finally reached a verdict. George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing the 17-year-old Martin, was found not guilty on all counts.

This past week was an especially long one for the trial, as the defense attorneys presented their case on behalf of Zimmerman, and both the state of Florida (acting as the prosecuting party on behalf of Trayvon and his parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton) and the defense presented their closing arguments.

The defense’s closing argument – during which they emphasized that the prosecution’s presented case did not effectively demonstrate Zimmerman’s guilt and also sought to portray Zimmerman as mostly defenseless and not the aggressor – and the especially emotional appeal of the state’s rebuttal (which emphasized contradictions in Zimmerman’s testimony) suggested that the jury might be inclined to consider manslaughter, the lesser of the two charges devoted towards Zimmerman (the first, and greater charge, would have been second-degree murder).

The jury did, in fact, ask for clarification earlier today as to the instructions in considering “manslaughter” as a charge. In the end, however, the jury – composed of six women – ultimately decided that Zimmerman was not guilty of killing Martin in cold blood or with malicious intent, and was indeed acting in defense when he shot the young man.

In a press conference following the announcement of the verdict, State’s Attorney of the 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida Angela Corey thanked the attorneys acting on behalf of the state for “trying the case as best they could” and insisted that the State’s Attorney’s office pursued primarily a second-degree murder charge for Mr. Zimmerman because that was most in line with Zimmerman’s testimony and the evidence available. Speaking on behalf of the defense, public defender and attorney Don West insisted at the same press conference that the prosecution of Zimmerman was “disgraceful” and thanked the jury for seeing the truth in the facts.

There may be differing opinions as to whether or not justice was truly served in the case, but the verdict and conclusion of the court case mark the end of a tumultuous, drama-filled year for both the Martin and Zimmerman families.