The verdict in the -- -- -- And good evening from ABC news headquarters here in New York I'm David Muir on this Saturday night and we join you now to bring you the verdict in the Georgia -- trial the... See More
The verdict in the -- -- -- And good evening from ABC news headquarters here in New York I'm David Muir on this Saturday night and we join you now to bring you the verdict in the Georgia -- trial the jury has reached a verdict. And as we await to hear what they're decision is things are looking at a courtroom right now we're George Herman has just taken his seat. There is the judge and. -- she was informed moments ago -- Here 37 his sister urged him and let's listen mr. B if you want this pitcher curt yeah. There. -- eat -- this your verdict yet thinking. Ladies I wish to thank you for your -- consideration of this case I also wish to advice he has some very special privileges enjoyed by jurors. No it -- could ever be required to talk about the discussions that occurred in the jury room except by court order. For many centuries our society has relied upon juries for considerations difficult cases. We have recognized for hundreds of years that the jury's deliberations. And discussion. And -- should remain a private affair as long as they wish it. There aren't a -- of gives you an -- unique privilege not to speak about the -- war. -- you are at liberty to speak with anyone about your deliberations. You are also at liberty to refused to speak to anyone. A request to discuss either your verdict for your deliberations. May come from those who are simply curious from those who might seek to find fault with you. From the media from the attorneys -- elsewhere it will be up to you to decide whether to preserve your privacy as a juror. Is there anything we need to take up its for the jury of his brother sent back to the jury room to be just charged. Ladies ladies thank you very much you'll be taken back to the -- That is judge Nelson thinking that -- -- not guilty in the -- -- trial George Zimmerman standing up live as you're looking at that. Sanford Florida courtroom in our senior legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams with the on the desk here in New York down not guilty. This was a tough case for prosecutors from day one let's let's remember this does not mean that these jurors are saying they support George -- What they're saying is that they do not believe the prosecution was able to prove its legal case beyond a reasonable doubt. And the legal issue here for prosecutors was a very difficult one George -- defense was that -- was lying on the ground. Trade bond Morton was hitting was attacking me. I shot him at that moment because I reasonably feared that he was going to hit me again and it it was going to be great bodily injury. -- the jury to find him not guilty all they're saying is if it was reasonable to. It -- to that self defense they're not saying we think George -- right. We're not saying that trade bond Martan. Deserve to die what they're saying is that the prosecution did not survive the legal burden here which was a steep one. But -- prosecute. You heard that the jurors earlier this afternoon before we went out with -- world news had asked for the instructions again on manslaughter. The judge responded to them saying your question has to be specific in nature and -- the jury never came back to the judgment any sort of specific questions to follow -- So that now makes us think now that we know that they come back but -- not guilty verdict that was probably one juror there who were saying wait a second. -- exec before we -- before we rule not guilty. I want to understand manslaughter a little better. But the fact that they didn't even come back all the judge said -- tell us what your questions. Be more specific about what you're asking. And for the jury today and not come back with it. It would seem that the concerns of that you're likely one juror we're not significant -- That they wanted to come back and be specific about what the question what -- -- arguments. -- stick with -- -- looking at live pictures inside that Sanford courtroom you can see -- -- -- standing there surrounded by his attorneys and some court officers. His family there behind them and as you know -- both families testifying in this case and one -- the key parts of this case where those fourteen screams heard on that 911 call and whose screams. They belong to where they George -- screams were they -- on Martins and as you can imagine both families getting up on the on -- witness stand and saying we believe it was our loved -- Morgan Stanley saying it was him governments famine in the courtroom right there saying it was him. First I should say that remember again the legal standards reasonable doubt so -- jurors aren't sure. They have to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt would win that said. It seemed that the prosecution by the end of this case was almost giving up on the idea. That it was trade -- Martin who was yelling for help yes where they still arguing to some degree yet. But by the end what they seem to be saying is sure George -- may have been on the -- yes he may have been the one yelling for help. But it just doesn't make sense the -- George Zimmerman waited out the way George Zimmermann cleaned it happened. Prosecutors say never made sense in particular. With regard to how did George -- get his -- From behind him in his holster as trade bond market was beating him allegedly. How did -- get that out. So easily they're saying it didn't make sense in the end it doesn't mean the jurors believe George -- women's version. What it means is they at least had reasonable doubt. And I think that's why -- a legal matter this was likely a relatively. Easy case. For these jurors because of the beyond a reasonable doubt standard and the legal issues in this case back up and following this case from the start -- -- And for Florida forced tonight we're watching the Zimmermann family wiped tears from their eyes hugging one another as they -- in that courtroom. The entire time -- That's right David. Very germanic moment playing out right now in court in other two sides of course to this story and watching the Zimmermann family hugging we also saw George Zimmermann. Had that smile just after the judge said. Not guilty he stood up he shook hands with his attorneys. Nothing very exaggerated rather -- -- Reaction to that verdict he's I think that the entire team is very sensitive to the fact that a young man -- killed they've been telling us. That they know that -- seventeen year old boy is dead. Because of George -- its actions. They're very happy that he got -- not guilty plea they are now walking out of the court. The people we did not -- -- -- Martin's fanning out there huddled somewhere else their attorneys were in court. And just before this verdict was read could tell how tense that moment was in the courtroom. The attorneys for the prosecution rubbing their eyes. Everybody in there has looked very very wearied. These jury has been deliberating for sixteen hours a little bit more than that they started at 9 AM this morning they ate lunch in court. But up there in the third floor they ate dinner in court. And it took an early break yesterday surprising everyone nobody thought David that this would last this long and then when that question came about manslaughter. The jury asking. For more explanation of what the manslaughter -- clause was in their jury instructions for what he thought this could go for the prosecution was the first time that. Really there was momentum people talking about the prosecution may pull -- this manslaughter charges that manslaughter -- the lesser of the two charges that George Zimmerman got. Carries a potential of thirty years in jail would have been very very severe. But again analyst told us the entire time that this is not exactly about what those questions are that the jury is asking the jury just may simply be asking questions for clarification. And that's indeed what happened and never followed up with another question. And indeed they came up with that not guilty verdict. Not so much a surprise for many analysts but. It was a very hard fought battle in court both of those -- trying very very hard using drama to try to appeal to those six female jurors. Five of the mothers that's why a lot of people thought that this would go for the prosecution very hard to convince those five mothers and a seventeen year old shot. Going home obviously not committing a crime that night. That was not a crime that clearly. What -- Maris said his closing argument that the state failed to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt was that salient moment for them. And that's the current that they came up with -- David. That you mentioned Zimmermann family there in court of course they were hugging and embracing -- -- Don west the two key members of that defense team. But you also one of the fact that -- on Martin's family was not in the courtroom for the verdict. Tell us a little more about that because the last 24 hours we of course also those images standing a stoically as they have been for weeks during this trial. There -- very difficult to read. But but everyone certainly knowing the pain that these parents are going through during this trial where where is it believe that they are tonight. And how must this -- for them. It has been very difficult for them just before the trial began I interviewed Sabrina Fulton -- -- Martin's mother she said. -- portray -- because he can't beat this trial. She was gonna be there every single day and she was. She sets don't think right there in a front row the camera's always on her David every time at those pictures came up a -- -- Martin's body. -- shown to the jury as evidence to look the way we saw everybody in court looking towards those pictures. She averted her gaze and sometimes she had to leave the courtroom. Today was the only -- that she really wasn't there now. We -- told by security -- but the sheriff here in Seminole County that there have been a rising number of threats not only against Sabrina Fulton and Tracey Martin. -- -- Martin's father but also against Zimmermann family things are clearly heating up here we don't know -- any of those threats are credible and we're not saying that there is anything out there but. I think for their own security. -- -- Martin's family. Have been sequestered somewhere -- -- or perhaps. They just didn't want to experience what was happening tonight but there is certainly some concern over security here obviously. They must be very very hurt. Now one point that -- Must be made here. Throughout this entire process the 45 days before Zimmerman was arrested because remember took six weeks for him to be arrested and that second degree manslaughter charge. The family always ask for justice but -- they said. Just this meant. A trial that meant an arrest they never said that and -- a conviction and I think their family attorney it's been trying to repeat that again and again that. All they wanted us to get this to trial and a fair trial that David. -- -- with -- for our live coverage and for those -- you just joining -- you watching ABC news coverage of the George -- trial. Jury reaching a verdict just moments ago -- before we came on the -- 10 o'clock eastern time. They had informed the judge that they had reached a verdict was delivered shortly after 10 PM eastern that their decision. Inside that sequestered jury was that he was not guilty. We then followed the courtroom images as George -- Embraced his attorneys we saw his family behind him his mother who of course. Testified that case but as you heard Matt -- report -- a moment ago Sabrina Fulton Traci Martin's parents. Of trade on Martin not in the courtroom as the verdict was read -- wanted to go to ABC's GO but he is -- outside the court. In Florida deal also covered this case in Florida for many years before joining us here -- ABC and I. When a -- -- view GO forward for the mood of the crowd there gathered. Good evening David you know here in front of the courthouse we saw at least 200 demonstrators clearly upset. About this verdict here's one of the eighth grade you're literally shaking as you were listening to that verdict. -- -- say. Very very strange environment standing here I guess -- -- the verdict two everybody including the news I was very disappointed with that. I think it's opens up a lot of cans of worms would via standard ground laws I mean PRD have concealed weapons here in the state of Florida. And now you can see a lot of vigilantes out driving around the world just looking for problems. All right Adrian and Barbara here you were crying the moment you heard that verdict controlled all the way unfortunately again just for this. I've been watching it and -- -- -- that last year. We -- they'll take Germany out of time and the right now Manhattan based at Fort Stewart and I've been waiting I've been watching this. The whole time just. And I do like myself and I can't imagine in that -- me right now. I just we -- gonna get some kind of justices. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And I just read that that we get changed since nine that I do not -- -- like you got to go to the -- All right Barbara Adrian thank you so much there are so many supporters here -- -- trade on Martin's family. Obviously there were some folks who were supporting George Zimmermann. Of those were outnumbered tremendously here at the courthouse of course many of those supporters contributed on lied to help George Zimmerman and his case. But as you can see so many people of center David. Her tears there GO speaking volumes about which side of the case she was on in the supporters there behind you many of them. Gathering in support of trade on Martin's I didn't want to tell our viewers that moments ago the jury in the -- -- trial finding him not guilty. And for those of you did not see the moment that courtroom want to play -- for you again right now. In the Circuit Court -- eighteenth judicial circuit in -- -- Seminole County Florida. State of Florida courses George Zimmermann. The verdict we -- jury find George -- not guilty. So say we all four person. -- either -- want to call the jury report yard. OK ladies and gentlemen it's good news ladies I'm sorry what answer it juror number is being called please answer whether this is your perfect. Sure beats that anything it's your turn its. Scare me thirty -- is this -- -- -- sure beat if you want it's your right yeah. There he thinks this picture perfect. Certainty about what we -- is this your -- yet -- As you heard them go one by one saying this was in fact their verdict in fact judge Nelson there was struck when -- -- ladies and gentlemen and and corrected herself saying. Ladies this was an all of female jury and I wanted to bring in our senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas and there was some thought -- That given the fact that five of the six jurors -- mothers in addition obviously to be an all woman jury. That perhaps that would play into their decision making that this was a son lost. On that evening in Florida. It clearly was not the case David and you know the case it. -- so much attention nationally particularly in the African American community. He had become such a symbol -- -- on -- that is have become such a symbol. We have done interviews with many African American families they talked about the fact that -- was -- young man. Who clearly had committed no crime there was no report of a robbery or -- -- at the time when Zimmerman saw him and many African Americans were asking the question. Why did Zimmerman. See -- -- on margin as a threat when he was simply walking. Do their community at a relatively early hour of the evening it will be very interesting to see how the African American community reacts to this. Again he had become a major major symbol in that community. -- thank you Dan Abrams with me here in new York and Danny were saying this is exactly what the defense team was expected book. I thought the defense's closing argument was over confident right I thought they had become so. Overconfident. In getting a not guilty verdict but they -- may have even gone too far in their closing argument. We're in the closing argument they were arguing actual innocence right they were saying that George Zimmerman was attacked by trade on marking -- -- The jurors don't have to believe. Any of that to find him not guilty in fact these jurors believe they're not as a legal matter could believe. That it was George Zimmerman who initiated this incident they could believe that George Zimmerman followed -- on mark. That a fight in suit. That George Zimmerman had started that fight. But that at the moment George Zimmermann fired that weapon he reasonably fifty years. -- trade bond -- was going to hit him again. Even if they had reasonable doubt -- to that. Fattening -- itself. Would be -- not guilty verdicts and to think it's really important for people to understand. Exactly what this verdict means. As a legal matter. Because these legal standard in a case like this self defense case in Florida. Is so tough. But in particular based on the facts as presented meaning George -- did have injuries there was an eyewitness who saw George -- being beaten. That eight makes it very tough for the prosecution in this case we. Forcing illegally here Dan Abrams with us here -- thanks to you to -- got an -- -- -- is -- Thomas the entire team covering this. Again the -- -- -- Zimmerman has been found not guilty. The murder of trade on -- in Florida. This has been a special --
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