George Zimmerman trial verdict: NOT GUILTY of Trayvon Martin murder by female jury
George Zimmerman has been found not guilty on all charges after a jury of six women delivered their verdict following 16 hours of deliberations on Saturday evening.
The neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin after an altercation last year and had been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter. However, on Saturday night the jury returned to court to give their not guilty verdict on both counts.
The case has been filled with racial tensions after it was claimed Zimmerman racially profiled Martin.
However, Zimmerman's defense team argued that he acted in self defense and that he responded with justified deadly force after he was made to fear for his own life after being attacked by Martin.
Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson had allowed the jury to consider coming to a verdict of manslaughter, which requires a lesser burden of proof and which also carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
However, the jury believed the burden of proof had not been established by the prosecution even for that charge.
The jury had been considering whether to convict Zimmerman of second degree murder, and to do so they would have had to believe beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or hatred.
Prosecutors attempted to show Zimmerman as a violent man, desperate to play a police officer, and someone who regularly racially profiled innocent youth.
In response the defense team attempted to show the prosecution had not made out their case, and that Martin himself was a drug user, who was repeatedly in trouble, liked to fight, and had even been suspended from school for skipping classes.
The jury retired to deliberate on Friday and spent 16 hours discussing what verdict they should agree upon, and on Saturday night they returned a verdict of not guilty to both second degree murder and manslaughter. That means Zimmerman is a free man and will be released immediately.
Pope Francis used his Christmas blessing to call for an end to fighting in Syria and the Holy Land.
Pope Francis said on Saturday that Christmas had been "taken hostage" by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry, the migrants and the war weary.
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