Judge Debra Nelson handed over accused-murderer George Zimmerman's fate to a jury of six women today in Sanford, Florida, reports CNN and USA Today.
Before releasing the jury to deliberate, Nelson delivered direct instructions on what should be decided and the charges Zimmerman can be convicted on. "You must presume innocence… Zimmerman is not required… to prove anything," said Nelson. "The state must prove the alleged crime was committed. It's up to the state to prove his guilt."
Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. issued a statement calling for a calm response to the verdict, no matter the outcome. "If Zimmerman is convicted there should not be inappropriate celebrations, because a young man lost his life, and if he is not convicted we should avoid violence because it will only lead to more tragedies," said Jackson.
For quite some time this morning and afternoon, the jury heard closing arguments from the defense and rebuttal statements from the prosecution. Mark O'Mara said in his closing statements that Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 out of self defense.
Immediately afterwards, the prosecution delivered their rebuttal remarks which echoed the same statement they made in opening arguments. "The defendant didn't shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to, he shot him because he wanted to."
If convicted of second degree murder, Zimmerman could face life in prison. He could also be convicted of manslaughter and face up to 30 years in prison.