George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty in Shooting Death of Trayvon Martin
Did George Zimmerman knowingly and purposely take the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin? The verdict is in and the jury says he's not guilty.
It was a dark and rainy night on February 26, 2012 when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin lost his life. The circumstances surrounding Martin's death, including the fact that he was unarmed and the initial decision not to charge neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman received international attention and with that attention a huge amount of scrutiny. Allegations of racist motivation for both the shooting and police conduct, along with intense media reporting that was sometimes inaccurate, contributed to public demands for Zimmerman's arrest.
45 days after Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, the Florida state attorney's office finally decided that yes, Zimmerman would face charges and formally charged him with second-degree murder.
Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the shooting. He said Martin was acting suspiciously when he saw him on the street, and threw a punch which led to them struggling over the gun. Then Zimmerman shot Martin.
Others believed that Zimmerman was the aggressor, picked a fight with Martin, and ended up shooting him. Once the shooting made international news, protests broke out calling for Zimmerman's arrest.
On the first day of his trial, Zimmerman’s lawyer, Don West decided to tell a bad knock-knock joke during his opening statement.
First he told the jury it was coming, saying that, quote, "Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying."
Then he told the joke, which went like this: "Knock-knock" "Who's there?" "George Zimmerman" "George Zimmerman, who?" "Alright, good. You're on the jury."
Not surprisingly, the joke bombed. West apologized later, after a recess, but even that was awkward, and just made it worse. West tells the terrible joke at :43.
There was also a controversial moment during the opening statement from the prosecutor, who dropped several f-bombs while he was quoting Zimmerman. In fact, aside from "good morning," the f-word was the first thing he said to the jurors.
After months of listening to both sides, jurors were asked to decide if Zimmerman, who said that he shot Martin in self defense, was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of second degree murder or if he was guilty of manslaughter or if he was not guilty of both charges.
The verdict was handed down today and 29 year old George Zimmerman has been not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin.