Zimmerman Found Not Guilty: Did the Jury Get It Right?

George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder charges Saturday night in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Do you think the verdict was fair?

George Zimmerman during a July 2012 hearing. | Credit: File Photo
George Zimmerman during a July 2012 hearing. | Credit: File Photo
A Florida jury deliberated for about 16 hours before finding George Zimmerman not guilty in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to the Huffington Post

Zimmerman, who pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges, claimed Martin attacked him, and he shot the teen in self-defense Feb. 26, 2012. Martin was returning to the home of his father's fiancée in Sanford, FL, with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles he bought from a local 7-Eleven. 

After calling police, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, confronted Martin, even after a police dispatcher advised him not to. The two fought, and Martin was shot and killed.

Since the shooting, the case has become the backdrop for national debates on race, gun ownership and self-defense laws, such as the "stand your ground" measure that allows an individual to use deadly force if he or she is in imminent danger. 

YOUR TURN: What do you think about the verdict? Was it right decision? Do you think it was fair? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Brian July 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Justice has been served!!
Kimberly July 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM
The real tragedy is that someone is dead. I think the jury got it right, the prosectution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt second degree murder, or even manslaughter. Again, the tragedy is that someone is dead and I'm sure all involved wished that Zimmerman would have just stayed in his car that night. Is race an issue? It certainly is .... some are saying Zimmerman profiled Martin and witness testimony quoted Martin referring to Zimmerman as a cracker. Race is an issue, and not just in Florida. I think the Stand Your Ground Law needs to be looked at ..... you can simply be afraid and that makes it OK for you to kill someone. I'm not saying that Zimmerman was simply afraid, he did sustain injuries to his face and head ..... I'm saying the law itself, needs to be seriously looked at. Just a tragedy, someone is dead and another is going to have to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.
BILL WOLF July 15, 2013 at 02:57 PM
The media made this a story about race, by calling him a white Hispanic, this shooting was nothing compared to what is happening in every major city, only because the democrats and liberals control these cities, they don't talk about black on black killings , or Hispanic on Hispanic shooting, all the gangs controlled by the the politicians, theses are the same people that get out the vote for them, and beat up good law abiding citizens.
Phil July 15, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Legally the jorors got it right based on what was presented to them. It is obvious the Judge saw this as well as she attempted to add lesser charges of manslaughter into consideration. Socially and civily this was a devastating defeat and there is plenty each community needs to talk about and address as it related to social injustice and racial profiling. The only two who know what really happened are not talking, one because he can't, the other because he isn't stupid and is now a fee man. Trevon was not a child and far from innocent I am certain. Zimmerman had a choice to get out of his car and confront trevon and he did so anyway and after the PD told him not to. Now the media and media mongers like Jesse, Sharpten, and the like will incite more hatred an fuel the fire until another trajedy occurs. It is sad and unfortunate. We all have to be accountable for our own actions and resposible as a parent to our children and where they are, what they are doing, and ensure they are home by a decent hour, just like we were raised. And the neighborhood watch should be parents watching out for each others kids.
Kimberly July 15, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Here is what irritates me the MOST. The above picture of Zimmerman (with a smirk of a smile) was from a 2012 hearing (as stated below the picture) and NOT when he was found not guilty. The article is about Zimmerman being found not guilty and asks the question, did the jury get it right? WHY did you use a picture that was 1 year old Joe Vince? Why not use a current picture, or how about using a photo of Zimmerman when the verdict was read? He didn't smile, he didn't smirk. This is what irritates the heck out of me, reporters intentionally trying to "create" interest/drama.
Joe Vince (Editor) July 15, 2013 at 05:32 PM
@Kimberly: You bring up a valid question, so let me pull back the curtain a bit. Patch does not subscribe to the Associated Press or other wire services, so I could not use photos from the verdict. I searched all of the sites Patch operates late Saturday night for a photo of Zimmerman, and the only two that I could find that had been used on Patch—which meant I could use—were the one you see here and a booking shot of him in orange jail dress. The expression in the photo bothered me, too, but the possible implication of using his mug shot (guilty despite being acquitted) was not a message that I wanted sent. Nor did I think using a photo of Trayvon Martin was appropriate (full disclosure: I didn't search for one, so I don't even know if one was available). I consulted with my supervisor, and although the photo was ideal, we felt comfortable using it, and I made sure to specifically ID when this photo was taken so there would be no confusion (in most head shots like this, we usually simply list the name). It's one thing to disagree with the decision. It's another thing to claim it was intentionally made to gin up drama for this story, which doesn't need any help from me when it comes to generating its own interest or drama. Nonetheless, thanks for asking the question. I think it's important for transparency in cases like this one. This is definitely a worthwhile discussion, Kimberly, so feel free to email me at joev@patch.com (that invitation is extended to everyone, too) if you have further questions. —Joe Vince, Tinley Park-Oak Forest Patch Editor
Kimberly July 15, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Thanks Joe, I appreciate the explanation. Without your explanation, the photo seemed like a really bad choice. Considering it was 1 of 2 you had available, I completely understand the choice you made. I agree in the need for transparency, and again appreciate your willingness to pull back the curtain. I'd have rather asked the question and learn the reason behind the chosen photo, then to have just remained irritated by the choice. Thanks again. Kimberly
Joe Vince (Editor) July 15, 2013 at 05:59 PM
@Kimberly: You should always feel free to ask Patch editors about their decisions. I feel confident speaking for my colleagues when I say we take them very seriously and think them through the best we can on deadline. We're not perfect, and I'm glad to have readers keeping us on our toes. I apologize if I came off a little bit defensive there at the end; that wasn't my intent. I think you asked a thoughtful question in a respectful manner. I appreciate you bringing it up. —Joe Vince, Tinley Park-Oak Forest Patch Editor


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