After a three-week trial, public protests and more than a year long lead up to a trial and verdict, a jury has found George Zimmerman not guilty for the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman faced either second-degree murder or manslaughter, and earlier today the jury asked for clarification on the manslaughter charge which made many believe that Zimmerman would be held accountable for Trayvon’s death. Zimmerman looked nervous before the verdict was read while his parents were in the courtroom looking on, and when he heard the words ‘not guilty’ a smile of relief crossed his face. According to CNN:
The fact that Zimmerman fired the bullet that killed Martin was never in question, but the verdict means the six-person jury had reasonable doubt that the shooting amounted to a criminal act.
The six-person jury — all women — basically had three choices: to find Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder; to find him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter; or to find him not guilty.
The jurors deliberated for 16½ hours total, including 13 on Saturday alone, before delivering its verdict.
Trayvon’s parents were not in the courtroom for the reading but his father did make a short statement via Twitter thanking everyone for their support.
“God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS. Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us [so] we together can make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY”
His mother, Sybrina Fulton, also tweeted:
Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you forever Trayvon!!! In the name of Jesus!!
Meanwhile, after the verdict, Twitter lit up with emotions ranging from folks who thought the verdict was right to those who were absolutely disgusted. One thing everyone had in common was that they wanted to keep the peace.
Check out some of the reactions below:
Rihanna: This is the saddest news ever!!!
Gabrielle Union: My heart… My soul is…
Dawn Richard: Praying for Trayvon’s family in this time of sorrow. This speaks volumes about our society and where we are in this time. Wow
Marc Lamont Hill: We live in a country where it is not only illegal, but lethal, to be young and Black and outside. Trayvon is our nation’s metaphor.
Tichina Arnold: Congratulations Mr. Zimmerman 2Day u successfully got away w/ murdering 1 of those so called “u know whats” that “get away all the time”.
Evelyn Lozada: How is Zimmerman going to get out that building though?! My heart aches for Trayvon’s family!
Ice Cube: The Trayvon Martin verdict doesn’t surprise me. Stanford, FL never wanted Zimmerman arrested. Now he’s free to kill another child.
Victor Cruz: Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up to him.
Nicki Minaj: And our taxes paid for that trial. We just paid to see a murderer walk free after killing an innocent unarmed little boy. #GodBlessAmerica. What are your thoughts? @BarackObama We’re allowed to disregard 911 operators, pursue and kill ppl now? But send lauryn hill to jail 4 TAXES
Steve Harvey: A Child is Dead & The Man that Killed Him is Free & Again The Child is Black…My Country Tis of Thee?
Wale : F-ckin shame.. We helpless .. Point blank them people’s do what they want however, to whoever. Lock a man away for dogfighting (which is wrong) for two years . But u can kill a. Child tho. N-gga do time for ounce of weed wit no remorse from “the system” tho
Shaheim Reed: As angry and hurt and confused as we all are, Trayvon’s family is feeling a million times worse. Let us continue to pray for them.
Ja Rule: Wow so a human life don’t mean sh-t in America… they gave me 2 years for just having a gun smh
Columbus Short: Zimmerman gets off for shooting 17yr old but Plaxico Buress goes to jail for shooting himself.
Michael Moore: Had a gun-toting Trayvon Martin stalked an unarmed George Zimmerman, and then shot him to death… DO I EVEN NEED TO COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE?
Russell Simmons: I know many people are very upset about the verdict, but we must remain peaceful. No matter what, remain peaceful. If u have any anger this evening, put that energy into challenging these horrible laws that allow overly-anxious neighborhood watchmen to carry guns and shoot innocent people.
Lil Duval: This the same state that flipped the presidential election. The leader of the FREE WORLD. This is nothin to Florida. And Zimmerman gon have a book deal……I wouldn’t go outside that court house if I was Zimmerman tho. I’d ask the judge could I stay with her.
Chad Johnson: Zimmerman is a free man but is he really FREE…
LaLa Anthony: Speechless…All I can do is pray and weep for
@SybrinaFulton and the Martin Family…walk by Faith not by sight. #GodisinControl #sosad. All I can think about right now is Trayvon’s family…I can’t even imagine what his parents are feeling right now…prayers go out
Kevin Hart: Michael Vick went to jail for killing a DOG and Zimmerman killed a innocent human and goes free
Diddy: Leave it in GOD’s hands.
Although Zimmerman was found not guilty, just last year a woman by the name of Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison in FLORIDA after she was convicted of attempted murder for firing warning shots against her abusive husband. [Read about that here] The justice system in America is insane.