An all-female jury has found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
The verdict comes two days after the jury went into intense deliberations over one of the most racially-charged cases in recent history.
Earlier this afternoon the jury of women asked the court for clarification on its instruction regarding manslaughter. If convicted of manslaughter, Zimmerman could have faced up to 30 years in prison.
The jury reached their verdict at 10 p.m. eastern standard time after deliberating for more than 16 hours.
Zimmerman is accused of racially profiling 17-year-old Martin as he walked home from a convenience store the night of February, 26, 2012. Prosecutors painted Zimmerman as a “wannabe police officer” who took the law into his own hands. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said Zimmerman was not the aggressor on that fateful night and Martin “used the availability of dangerous items, from his fist to the concrete, to cause great bodily injury against George Zimmerman.”
Zimmerman’s family has called for calm and asked their supporters to accept the verdict. “We hope now that as Americans we will all respect the rule of law, which begins with respecting the verdict. The judicial system has run its course — pray for justice, pray for peace, pray for our country,” the family said in a statement.
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