Loading

58°F

61°F

59°F

57°F

59°F

57°F

59°F

64°F

59°F
NEWS STORIES

Breaking: jury finds Zimmerman not guiltySubmitted: 07/13/2013
Story By Associated Press

SANFORD, FLA - Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.

Zimmerman, 29, blinked and barely smiled when the verdict was announced. He could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter. But the jury of six women, all but one of them white, reached a verdict of not guilty after deliberating well into the night. Their names have not been made public, and they declined to speak to the media.

Martin's mother and father were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read; supporters of his family who had gathered outside yelled ``No! No!'' upon learning of the not guilty verdict.

The teen's father, Tracy, reacted on Twitter: ``Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.''

His mother also said on Twitter that she appreciated the prayers from supporters.

``Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have,'' she wrote.

The jurors considered nearly three weeks of often wildly conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor on the rainy night the 17-year-old was shot while walking through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.

Defense attorneys said the case was classic self-defense, claiming Martin knocked Zimmerman down and was slamming the older man's head against the concrete sidewalk when Zimmerman fired his gun.

``We're ecstatic with the results,'' defense attorney Mark O'Mara after the verdict. ``George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense.''

Another member of his defense team, Don West, said he was pleased the jury ``kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty.''

Prosecutors called Zimmerman a liar and portrayed him was a ``wannabe cop'' vigilante who had grown frustrated by break-ins in his neighborhood committed primarily by young black men. Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good and took the law into his own hands, prosecutors said.

State Attorney Angela Corey said after the verdict that she believed second-degree murder was the appropriate charge because Zimmerman's mindset ``fit the bill of second-degree murder.''

``We charged what we believed we could prove,'' Corey said.

As the verdict drew near, police and city leaders in the Orlando suburb of Sanford and other parts of Florida said they were taking precautions against the possibility of mass protests or unrest in the event of an acquittal.

``There is no party in this case who wants to see any violence,'' Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said immediately after jurors began deliberating. ``We have an expectation upon this announcement that our community will continue to act peacefully.''

O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, said his client is aware he has to be cautious and protective of his safety.

``There still is a fringe element that wants revenge,'' O'Mara said. ``They won't listen to a verdict of not guilty.''

The verdict came a year and a half after civil rights protesters angrily demanded Zimmerman be prosecuted. That anger appeared to return Saturday night outside the courthouse, at least for some who had been following the case.

Rosie Barron, 50, and Andrew Perkins, 55, both black residents of Sanford, stood in the parking lot of the courthouse and wept.

``I at least thought he was going to get something, something,'' Barron said.

Added her brother: ``How the hell did they find him not guilty?''

Perkins was so upset he was shaking. ``He killed somebody and got away with murder,'' Perkins shouted, looking in the direction of the courthouse. ``He ain't getting no probation or nothing.''

Several Zimmerman supporters also were outside the courthouse, including a brother and sister quietly rejoicing that Zimmerman was acquitted. Both thought the jury made the right decision in finding Zimmerman not guilty _ they felt that Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense.

Cindy Lenzen, 50, of Casslebury, and her brother, 52-year-old Chris Bay, stood watching the protesters chant slogans such as, ``the whole system's guilty.''

Lenzen and Bay _ who are white _ called the entire case ``a tragedy,'' especially for Zimmerman.

``It's a tragedy that he's going to suffer for the rest of his life,'' Bay said. ``No one wins either way. This is going to be a recurring nightmare in his mind every night.''

Meanwhile, authorities in Martin's hometown of Miami said the streets were quiet, with no indication of problems. The neighborhood where Martin's father lives in Miami Gardens was equally quiet.

Zimmerman wasn't arrested for 44 days after the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting as police in Sanford insisted that Florida's Stand Your Ground law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. Florida gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.

Martin's parents, along with civil rights leaders such as the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, argued that Zimmerman _ whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic _ had racially profiled their son. And they accused investigators of dragging their feet because Martin was a black teenager.

Before a special prosecutor assigned to the case ordered Zimmerman's arrest, thousands of protesters gathered in Sanford, Miami, New York and elsewhere, many wearing hoodies like the one Martin had on the night he died. They also carried Skittles and a can of iced tea, items Martin had in his pocket. President Barack Obama weighed in, saying that if he had a son, ``he'd look like Trayvon.''

Despite the racially charged nature of the case, race was barely mentioned at the trial. Even after the verdict, prosecutors said the case was not about race.

``This case has never been about race or the right to bear arms,'' Corey said. ``We believe this case all along was about boundaries, and George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries.''

One of the few mentions of race came from witness Rachel Jeantel, the Miami teen who was talking to Martin by phone moments before he was shot. She testified that he described being followed by a ``creepy-ass cracker'' as he walked through the neighborhood.

Jeantel gave some of the trial's most riveting testimony. She said she overheard Martin demand, ``What are you following me for?'' and then yell, ``Get off! Get off!'' before his cellphone went dead.

The jurors had to sort out clashing testimony from 56 witnesses in all, including police, neighbors, friends and family members.

For example, witnesses who got fleeting glimpses of the fight in the darkness gave differing accounts of who was on top. And Martin's parents and Zimmerman's parents both claimed that the person heard screaming for help in the background of a neighbor's 911 call was their son. Numerous other relatives and friends weighed in, too, as the recording was played over and over in court. Zimmerman had cuts and scrapes on his face and the back of his head, but prosecutors suggested the injuries were not serious.

To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted with a ``depraved'' state of mind _ that is, with ill will, hatred or spite. Prosecutors said he demonstrated that when he muttered, ``F------ punks. These a-------. They always get away'' during a call to police as he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood.

To win a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Driver found dead after hit-and-run, shootingSubmitted: 08/30/2014

MILWAUKEE - Police say a male driver has been found dead -- apparently shot after a hit-and-run in Milwaukee.

Authorities say the driver was found dead Friday night in a vehicle that had gone off the road and hit a pole at 31st and Hope.

During their investigation, police learned the driver had been involved in a hit-and-run just a few blocks away. A male who was possibly associated with that first accident shot at the other driver -- who fled, lost control of his vehicle, and hit the pole.

+ Read More
Cancer patient gets dying wish, weds woman he lovesSubmitted: 08/30/2014

GREEN BAY - When Harley Thomas learned in August that he would have just three months to live, he told his doctors he wanted nothing more than to marry the woman he loves.

The Cancer Team at Bellin Health granted that wish, and hosted a wedding for Thomas and Lori Feeley on Thursday. Area businesses donated everything from Feeley's dress to the cake.

Thomas and Feeley have been together nearly nine years. They planned to marry before, but were in and out of homelessness and didn't have the money.

+ Read More
UPDATE: 12-year-old boy drowns in hotel poolSubmitted: 08/30/2014

MILWAUKEE - A 12-year-old boy is dead after apparently drowning in a hotel pool in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says Zay-Vun Mooreland of Milwaukee died Friday night at the Rodeway Inn & Suites.

A message left with the hotel manager was not immediately returned Saturday.

The medical examiner's report says Mooreland could not swim. He was in the pool with his siblings and a cousin when his older brother went into deep water with Mooreland on his back. The brother began to struggle in the deep water.

+ Read More
Neon Glow Fun Run lights up stormy nightSubmitted: 08/30/2014

PRENTICE - Nearly 100 people didn't let storms keep them from running a 5K Friday night. The Prentice Pines Golf Course turned into a glowing 5K course for the second annual Neon Glow Fun Run.

People dressed up in their brightest outfits. They also wore a lot of glow sticks.

Organizers started the event last year to bring people together the night before Prentice Progress Days community festival starts. The event also raises money for the Prentice Fire Department and Ambulance Services through raffles and food sales.

+ Read More
Potato Fest draws in large crowd, teaches kids about agricultureSubmitted: 08/30/2014

RHINELANDER - Potato salad, french fries, mashed potatoes...just about every form of potato was at the second annual Potato Fest in Rhinelander Saturday.

"[We've got] great food. We have just about every single food that can be made with a potato. We have lots of fun games," said the 67th Alice in Dairyland Zoey Brooks. "We have potato sack races, the potato dig for kids, and the Wisconsin spud mobile is here as well."

There were a few changes to the event this year. Event organizers made sure people had something to do every minute at Potato Fest.

+ Read More
Couch potato race promotes physical activitySubmitted: 08/30/2014

RHINELANDER - One type of potato you couldn't find at Potato Fest this year was a couch potato. Leaders at the YMCA of the Northwoods helped promote health and staying active by putting on the second annual couch potato race.

Teams of racers had to build a moving couch and push it down Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander. They also had to finish obstacle courses along the way.

+ Read More
Modified Karts at Crandon International Raceway this weekendSubmitted: 08/29/2014

Play Video

CRANDON - The Crandon International Off-Road Raceway is holding their 45th annual World Championship Off-Road Race all weekend.

You can find racers from across the country at the raceway.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here