George Zimmerman Trial: Jurors wrap up first day of deliberations

4:44 PM, Jul 13, 2013   |    comments
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Video: George Zimmerman Trial: Jury begins deliberations

 

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  • SANFORD, Fla. - Jurors deciding the fate of George Zimmerman resumed deliberations Saturday as protesters gathered outside the courthouse and the nation watched for a verdict.

    Jurors entered their 10th hour late in the afternoon as the courthouse buzzed with anticipation. Seminole County Sheriff officers, in pine-colored uniforms, were tightly patrolling the entrance of the building allowing only pre-approved people into the building.

    10 News will have the jury's verdict when it is reached. You can watch it live here on wtsp.com. 

    You can also watch live video of the George Zimmerman verdict on the WTSP iPad app. Download it here.


    About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse, shouting slogans, waving banners and arguing with one another about the case. At 5 p.m. ET emotions ran high as the large crowd gathered at a fountain.

    Sheriff's deputies escorted two demonstrators away from the fountain after they verbally clashed, drawing crushes of cameras and gawkers.

    Jurors deliberated for three hours before breaking for lunch. They resumed their discussions about 1 p.m. ET.

    Judge Debra Nelson sent them into the jury room when they first came in saying "all of the evidence will be back there with you," referring to a request Friday by jurors to see an inventory of all the evidence in the case.

    The six-woman jury has the option of acquitting Zimmerman or convicting him of second-degree murder or manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin. Jurors began weighing evidence against Zimmerman Friday and recessed after three and a half hours.

    Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Trayvon, 17, in self-defense after being attacked. State prosecutors, however, claim Zimmerman profiled, followed and murdered the teen on Feb. 26, 2012.

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    Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said the parents are emotional but doing as well as expected as they await a verdict.

    "(Jurors) staying out longer and considering the evidence and testimony is a good thing for us arriving at a just verdict," Crump said.

    Police and civic leaders have pleaded for calm in Sanford and across the country after the verdict is announced.

    In New York on Saturday, the Rev. Al Sharpton said that no matter the verdict, any demonstrations that follow it must be peaceful.

    "We do not want to smear Trayvon Martin's name with violence," the civil rights leader said. "He is a victim of violence."

    Before the jury began weighing evidence Friday, Nelson told the panel they must find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman is guilty of a crime.

    "You must presume innocence. ... Zimmerman is not required ... to prove anything,'' she said. "The state must prove the alleged crime was committed. It's up to the state to prove his guilt."

    Deliberations in the high-profile case began shortly before 2:30 p.m. Friday, after Assistant State Attorney John Guy gave the state's rebuttal statements to the defense's closing statements.

    Guy, looking intently at jurors, said "that child had every right to be afraid of a strange man following him."

    Following a state tactic used throughout the trial, Guy quoted from Zimmerman's conversation by cellphone with a police dispatcher soon after spotting Trayvon. The prosecutor focused on Zimmerman saying "f--king punks" and "these a--holes always get away." Those words, Guy argued showed the frustration, hate and spite that motivated Zimmerman to shoot Trayvon.

    Guy also put up a split screen of pictures: Trayvon's dead body on the grass and the bloody head of George Zimmerman after the shooting.

    "Who lost the fight?" Guy asked. He added that if Zimmerman is acquitted it will send a message that grown men can follow and kill children.

    He also repeated a sentence he delivered in his opening statement in the rebuttal: "The defendant didn't shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to, he shot him because he wanted to," he said.

    Mark O'Mara, one of Zimmerman's lawyers, argued in a lengthy closing statement that his client is a conscientious citizen who fired a fatal bullet into a teen while fighting for his life. O'Mara used several visuals in his closing, including a chart about reasonable doubt, self-defense and a computer animation showing Trayvon walking up to Zimmerman and punching him.

    Trayvon, instead of going home, likely hid, waited for Zimmerman and confronted him, O'Mara said.

    "That is not an unarmed teenager," O'Mara said in his closing statement, explaining with an actual concrete slab that Trayvon used his fists and a sidewalk to threaten great bodily harm.

    The defense attorney said that Zimmerman was not the aggressor and that the state's case arguing Zimmerman's cursing on a police call was ill will doesn't make sense.

    "The fact that he was willing to say it on a call with law enforcement is evidence of non-guilt," O'Mara said.

    About two hours into their review Friday, jurors asked Nelson for an inventory of all the evidence in the case. Some of the items include several statements Zimmerman gave to police, Trayvon's autopsy report and photos of both Zimmerman's injuries and Trayvon's body. More than 50 witnesses testified as well including forensic experts who testified about the angle in which Trayvon was shot, the position Zimmerman's gun may have been in, and where DNA and blood was found.

    If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman could face life imprisonment. If he's found guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter, he faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

    Contributing: Associated Press.


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