Jury to resume Zimmerman deliberations today

George Zimmerman and his wife Shellie, with Seminole court services investigator Rob Hemmert talk in the courtroom in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida. Credit: Reuters
George Zimmerman and his wife Shellie, with Seminole court services investigator Rob Hemmert talk in the courtroom in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida.
Credit: Reuters

A Florida jury on Saturday resumed deliberating the fate of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, a case that has sparked debate in the U.S. public for more than a year.

The jury of six women, sequestered since the trial began last month, deliberated for more than three hours on Friday without reaching a decision of second-degree murder, manslaughter or acquittal for Zimmerman, who says he shot the teen in self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

Zimmerman, 29, says Martin attacked him on the rainy night of February 26, 2012, in the central Florida town of Sanford. Prosecutors contend Zimmerman was a “wannabe cop” who tracked down the teenager and shot him without justification.

The jury, which must reach a unanimous verdict, heard 12 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments under the eyes of Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson.

Ronald Fulton, Martin’s wheelchair-bound uncle who was close to the slain 17-year-old, said on Saturday that waiting for a verdict was one of the hardest things to do.

“It’s like everybody wants to know the next step of what’s happening, and that’s why it’s so tense,” the 50-year-old Fulton told Reuters in a phone interview from his Miami home.

“If he is acquitted what would be the recourse from that?” Fulton asked. “These things are weighing on me heavily.”

The judge said she will let the jurors set their own working hours.

On Friday, the jury sent a note to the judge asking for a full inventory of evidence in the case, which has dominated U.S. media, sparked street demonstrations and raised questions about race and guns in America.

Zimmerman’s family appealed for calm, whatever the verdict, saying they had complete trust in the U.S. justice system.

“As we await a verdict we will remain hopeful and ask for the public to remain peaceful no matter the outcome,” they said in a statement to CNN. “The judicial system has run its course, pray for justice, pray for peace, pray for our country.”

MARTIN MEMORIAL

In Sanford’s black neighborhood of Goldsboro, a group of about a dozen people gathered Friday evening at a memorial set up for Martin, holding signs reading “Justice 4 Trayvon” and singing hymns.

The case began when Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator for his gated community, called police to report a suspicious person. That turned out to be Martin, who was visiting the home of his father’s fiancée.

A fight ensued and, after Zimmerman suffered several head injuries, he shot Martin once through the heart with a Kel Tec 9 mm pistol fully loaded with hollow-point bullets.

In closing arguments on Friday, lead defense lawyer Mark O’Mara attempted to shift the blame to Martin, saying he was the aggressor who attacked Zimmerman after lying in wait.

The jury could opt for manslaughter, which has a lesser burden of culpable negligence and carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

In a final rebuttal, prosecutor John Guy told the jury: “The defendant didn’t shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him because he wanted to. That’s the bottom line.”

Police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, believing his account of self-defense. That provoked demonstrations accusing Zimmerman of racial profiling and demanding his arrest. He was charged with second-degree murder 45 days after the shooting.

The case drew the attention of President Barack Obama, who said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

In Sanford, officials said on Friday they were prepared for demonstrations after the verdict but expected calm.

“We will not tolerate anyone who uses the verdict as an excuse to violate the law,” Sheriff Donald Eslinger told reporters.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…