Loading

43°F

42°F

44°F

43°F

44°F

43°F

43°F

44°F

44°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
Expera gets WEDC loan for headquarters improvementsSubmitted: 10/23/2014

Play Video

KAUKAUNA - Expera Specialty Solutions will use a $1 million loan to upgrade its headquarters in Kaukauna.

The company runs four mills in Wisconsin, including the ones in Rhinelander and Mosinee.

Expera will get the loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). That is the quasi-private state job creation agency.

+ Read More
Social media app causes problems for Medford High School, app banned from school groundsSubmitted: 10/23/2014

Play Video

MEDFORD - A Northwoods high school evacuated earlier this month because of an anonymous message on the social media app called Yik Yak. Someone posted a bomb threat on the app for Medford High School.

That hasn't been the only issue with the app. Some students used the app to anonymously bully their peers.

"People, especially students but even adults too, are much, much braver behind a computer screen," says Medford High School Dean of Students Justin Hraby.

+ Read More
Grant to help improve Vilas trails appSubmitted: 10/23/2014

VILAS COUNTY - Tourism leaders hope updates to a smartphone app will bring in an extra $350,000 to Vilas County.

The app will now offer GPS services to the county's non-motorized trail app.

Vilas County Tourism & Publicity will pay for it with a nearly $40,000 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the state department of tourism.

+ Read More
State Representative will plead no contest, could face jail timeSubmitted: 10/23/2014

WISCONSIN - Wisconsin state representative Bill Kramer could spend nine months in jail.

Kramer faced trial next week for two felonies of second-degree sexual assault. The case won't go to trial, though. Kramer has agreed to a plea deal.

He'll plead no contest to two misdemeanors. Those were for fourth-degree sexual assault.

+ Read More
Appeals court rejects John Doe rehearing requestSubmitted: 10/23/2014

MADISON - A federal appeals court has unanimously rejected a conservative group's request to reconsider a ruling last month tossing a lawsuit challenging an investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the request from Wisconsin Club for Growth to rehear the case after a three-judge panel last month sided with investigators.

+ Read More
Federal grant will help NTC open mobile lab, expand educational opportunitiesSubmitted: 10/23/2014

Play Video

WAUSAU - Northcentral Technical College will get a huge boost to one of its healthcare programs.

The geriatric healthcare program will get $668,328 from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant will help create new advanced technical certificates. It will also go towards expanding educational programs.

+ Read More
International group considers Wisconsin one of four most improved states in energy efficiency Submitted: 10/23/2014

Play Video

WISCONSIN - An international energy efficiency group ranked Wisconsin in the top four most improved states in the U.S. when it comes to energy efficiency.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is an international non-profit. The group pushes for better energy efficiency around the world.

They ranked Wisconsin 23rd in the U.S. last year, but Wisconsin made their most improved list for 2014.

"A shift in efficiency administrators had caused a temporary drop in saving," ACEEE State Policy Research Analyst Annie Gilleo said. "We are seeing that Wisconsin is once again realizing consistent levels of electricity and natural gas savings."

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here