Zimmerman found not guilty - WSMV Channel 4

Zimmerman found not guilty

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SANFORD, FL (RNN) -

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Judge Debra Nelson allowed the jury to consider manslaughter, but not third-degree murder in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder charge.

The shooting

On the evening of Feb. 26, 2012, 28-year-old George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Sanford, FL, gated community.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, spotted Martin walking in the neighborhood and called a nonemergency police number to report what he said was a suspicious person in his neighborhood.

In Zimmerman's call, he stated that was following Martin. The dispatcher told him, "We don't need you to do that." Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin and the two had an altercation during which Martin was shot and killed by a single gunshot to his chest.

Police reports from that night show that Martin was unarmed, carrying only a bag of candy, a can of iced tea and a small amount of cash.

Zimmerman was not initially charged with a crime in the shooting incident. According to transcripts from Zimmerman's bond hearing, he was initially interviewed by the Sanford Police within an hour and a half of the shooting, and authorities could find no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.

Zimmerman's arrest

After public outcry and pressure from Martin's family and the NAACP, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into the shooting on March 19. Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed State Attorney Angela Corey to investigate.

Corey charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder on April 11, 2012, and turned himself in to authorities the same day.

According to CNN, an affidavit of probable cause in Florida's case against Zimmerman says he profiled Martin and disregarded the dispatcher's request that he wait for the police to arrive at the scene.

At a bond hearing on April 20, 2012, Zimmerman was released on bail. On April 27, Zimmerman admitted that approximately $150,000 had been raised for his defense. Prosecutors asked the court to readdress Zimmerman's bail on the basis he had knowingly misled the court.

Zimmerman's bond was revoked on June 1, 2012, and he was put in jail two days later because he and his family knowingly lied about how much money he had access to. On July 5, Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. granted Zimmerman bail and set Zimmerman's bond for $1 million, under several conditions including electronic monitoring and a curfew.

Judge Lester granted bond because Zimmerman didn't commit any crimes while previously on bail and because he believed that Zimmerman didn't pose a threat to the community.

The trial

Jury selection for the trial began on June 10, 2013, and was completed on June 20 when six jurors and four alternates were selected.

The trial began on June 25 with the prosecution's opening statements that used the same language Zimmerman used when he was talking the police dispatcher just before his confrontation with Martin. The prosecution also claimed that Zimmerman, frustrated by crime in his neighborhood, shot Martin simply because he wanted to.

The defense's opening statement began with a knock-knock joke intended to show how difficult it was to select a jury in a case that has nationwide attention.

"Knock. Knock," said defense attorney Don West.

"Who is there?"

"George Zimmerman."

"George Zimmerman who?"

"All right, good. You're on the jury."

West went on to state that "there are no monsters" in the case and asserted that Zimmerman only shot Martin because he was being brutally attacked.

The prosecution

The prosecution's witnesses included members of the Sanford Police Department, a Sanford Fire Department EMT, a police dispatcher, a neighborhood watch coordinator and neighbors who had witnessed the shooting.

Over the course of the trial, the neighbors' testimony served to help Zimmerman's self-defense claim. Legal analysts noted that the prosecution was struggling to meet the burden of proof for the second-degree murder charge.

Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Trayvon Martin, was initially expected to be a star witness for the prosecution. Jeantel was on the phone with Martin on the night of the shooting, talking to him just before the confrontation.

The prosecution also called in Hirotaka Nakasone, a voice-analysis expert, who testified that the recording of the screams on the 911 call were of poor quality and didn't provide enough quality audio to be properly analyzed.

The state rested its case against Zimmerman on Friday, July 5, 2013.

The defense tried to have the case thrown out after the state rested, claiming that the state failed to meet its burden to proceed. Nelson denied the motion.

The defense

The Defense began presenting its case on July 8, 2013

The first witness called by the defense was Gladys Zimmerman, George's mother, who testified that it was her son heard screaming on the 911 recording. Other relatives and friends of Zimmerman who were called to testify confirmed that they believed they heard George Zimmerman's voice on the 911 recording.

Another neighbor, Olivia Bertalan took the stand to describe how she spoke with George Zimmerman after she was the victim of a home invasion that happened before the incident with Martin. She described him as being helpful to her in the aftermath of the break-in.

Adam Pollock, the owner of a kickboxing gym that George Zimmerman had attended, testified that Zimmerman was overweight and not particularly athletic or strong.

The defense brought in Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a forensic pathologist and gunshot-wound expert. He testified that the gunshot wound Martin received was consistent with George Zimmerman's assertion that Martin was on top of him. He also noted that George Zimmerman's head injuries were consistent with his story of having his head banged on a sidewalk.

During cross examination, he said that the evidence is also consistent with Martin pulling away from George Zimmerman.

Dennis Root, a former law enforcement officer and trainer, testified that George Zimmerman's injuries were "consistent with a fight, a physical fistfight."

The defense's last witness was Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., who briefly testified that he was certain he heard his son's voice on the 911 recording.

George Zimmerman chose not to testify in his own defense. During the course of the trial jurors saw videos in which Zimmerman told his story to investigators.

The defense rested its case on July 10, 2013.

Closing arguments

The prosecution began its closing arguments on July 11, 2013.

State Attorney Bernie De La Rionda's closing arguments reiterated that Trayvon Martin died through no fault of his own, because Zimmerman had essentially profiled Martin and took matters into his own hands. He also called Zimmerman a liar.

The defense began its closing arguments on July 12, 2013.

During Mark O'Mara's closing arguments, he asked the jury to use their common sense and stick with facts while deliberating. He used a chunk of concrete to impress upon the jury that the sidewalk was Martin's weapon.

John Guy gave the state's rebuttal, reminding the jury that if Zimmerman had simply stayed in his car that night, and waited on the police, no one would be there in the courtroom.

The jury deliberates

Judge Debra Nelson gave the jury extensive instructions and the jury began its deliberations on Friday, shortly after the state presented its rebuttal.

The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before asking the judge for a comprehensive list of the evidence presented at the trial.

 

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Judge Debra Nelson allowed the jury to consider manslaughter, but not third-degree murder in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder charge.

The shooting

On the evening of Feb. 26, 2012, 28-year-old George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Sanford, FL, gated community.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, spotted Martin walking in the neighborhood and called a nonemergency police number to report what he said was a suspicious person in his neighborhood.

In Zimmerman's call, he stated that was following Martin. The dispatcher told him, "We don't need you to do that." Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin and the two had an altercation during which Martin was shot and killed by a single gunshot to his chest.

Police reports from that night show that Martin was unarmed, carrying only a bag of candy, a can of iced tea and a small amount of cash.

Zimmerman was not initially charged with a crime in the shooting incident. According to transcripts from Zimmerman's bond hearing, he was initially interviewed by the Sanford Police within an hour and a half of the shooting, and authorities could find no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.

Zimmerman's arrest

After public outcry and pressure from Martin's family and the NAACP, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into the shooting on March 19. Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed State Attorney Angela Corey to investigate.

Corey charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder on April 11, 2012, and turned himself in to authorities the same day.

According to CNN, an affidavit of probable cause in Florida's case against Zimmerman says he profiled Martin and disregarded the dispatcher's request that he wait for the police to arrive at the scene.

At a bond hearing on April 20, 2012, Zimmerman was released on bail. On April 27, Zimmerman admitted that approximately $150,000 had been raised for his defense. Prosecutors asked the court to readdress Zimmerman's bail on the basis he had knowingly misled the court.

Zimmerman's bond was revoked on June 1, 2012, and he was put in jail two days later because he and his family knowingly lied about how much money he had access to. On July 5, Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. granted Zimmerman bail and set Zimmerman's bond for $1 million, under several conditions including electronic monitoring and a curfew.

Judge Lester granted bond because Zimmerman didn't commit any crimes while previously on bail and because he believed that Zimmerman didn't pose a threat to the community.

The trial

Jury selection for the trial began on June 10, 2013, and was completed on June 20 when six jurors and four alternates were selected.

The trial began on June 25 with the prosecution's opening statements that used the same language Zimmerman used when he was talking the police dispatcher just before his confrontation with Martin. The prosecution also claimed that Zimmerman, frustrated by crime in his neighborhood, shot Martin simply because he wanted to.

The defense's opening statement began with a knock-knock joke intended to show how difficult it was to select a jury in a case that has nationwide attention.

"Knock. Knock," said defense attorney Don West.

"Who is there?"

"George Zimmerman."

"George Zimmerman who?"

"All right, good. You're on the jury."

West went on to state that "there are no monsters" in the case and asserted that Zimmerman only shot Martin because he was being brutally attacked.

The prosecution

The prosecution's witnesses included members of the Sanford Police Department, a Sanford Fire Department EMT, a police dispatcher, a neighborhood watch coordinator and neighbors who had witnessed the shooting.

Over the course of the trial, the neighbors' testimony served to help Zimmerman's self-defense claim. Legal analysts noted that the prosecution was struggling to meet the burden of proof for the second-degree murder charge.

Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Trayvon Martin, was initially expected to be a star witness for the prosecution. Jeantel was on the phone with Martin on the night of the shooting, talking to him just before the confrontation.

The prosecution also called in Hirotaka Nakasone, a voice-analysis expert, who testified that the recording of the screams on the 911 call were of poor quality and didn't provide enough quality audio to be properly analyzed.

The state rested its case against Zimmerman on Friday, July 5, 2013.

The defense tried to have the case thrown out after the state rested, claiming that the state failed to meet its burden to proceed. Nelson denied the motion.

The defense

The Defense began presenting its case on July 8, 2013

The first witness called by the defense was Gladys Zimmerman, George's mother, who testified that it was her son heard screaming on the 911 recording. Other relatives and friends of Zimmerman who were called to testify confirmed that they believed they heard George Zimmerman's voice on the 911 recording.

Another neighbor, Olivia Bertalan took the stand to describe how she spoke with George Zimmerman after she was the victim of a home invasion that happened before the incident with Martin. She described him as being helpful to her in the aftermath of the break-in.

Adam Pollock, the owner of a kickboxing gym that George Zimmerman had attended, testified that Zimmerman was overweight and not particularly athletic or strong.

The defense brought in Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a forensic pathologist and gunshot-wound expert. He testified that the gunshot wound Martin received was consistent with George Zimmerman's assertion that Martin was on top of him. He also noted that George Zimmerman's head injuries were consistent with his story of having his head banged on a sidewalk.

During cross examination, he said that the evidence is also consistent with Martin pulling away from George Zimmerman.

Dennis Root, a former law enforcement officer and trainer, testified that George Zimmerman's injuries were "consistent with a fight, a physical fistfight."

The defense's last witness was Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., who briefly testified that he was certain he heard his son's voice on the 911 recording.

George Zimmerman chose not to testify in his own defense. During the course of the trial jurors saw videos in which Zimmerman told his story to investigators.

The defense rested its case on July 10, 2013.

Closing arguments

The prosecution began its closing arguments on July 11, 2013.

State Attorney Bernie De La Rionda's closing arguments reiterated that Trayvon Martin died through no fault of his own, because Zimmerman had essentially profiled Martin and took matters into his own hands. He also called Zimmerman a liar.

The defense began its closing arguments on July 12, 2013.

During Mark O'Mara's closing arguments, he asked the jury to use their common sense and stick with facts while deliberating. He used a chunk of concrete to impress upon the jury that the sidewalk was Martin's weapon.

John Guy gave the state's rebuttal, reminding the jury that if Zimmerman had simply stayed in his car that night, and waited on the police, no one would be there in the courtroom.

The jury deliberates

Judge Debra Nelson gave the jury extensive instructions and the jury began its deliberations on Friday, shortly after the state presented its rebuttal.

The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before asking the judge for a comprehensive list of the evidence presented at the trial.

 

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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