SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - After a year and a half of living as a hermit, George Zimmerman emerged from a Florida courthouse a free man, cleared of all charges in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
A jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder late Saturday night and declined to convict him on a lesser charge of manslaughter.
His brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., says the former neighborhood watch volunteer was still processing the reality that he wouldn't serve prison time for the killing, which Zimmerman has maintained was an act of self-defense. However, with many critics angry over his acquittal, his freedom will likely be limited.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara suggested Zimmerman's safety would be an ongoing concern. He says a fringe element of society still wants revenge for Martin's killing.
Protesters angered by the acquittal of George Zimmerman held largely peaceful demonstrations in three California cities, but broke windows and started small street fires in Oakland, according to police.
The gatherings Saturday night ranged from a few dozen to a few hundred people turning out to protest the verdict in the Florida courtroom over the death of Trayvon Martin, and police said some of the demonstrations continued into the early hours Sunday.
The Oakland police dispatch office said about 100 people protested and police were forced to deal with acts of vandalism, mainly breaking windows on businesses and starting small fires in the streets. As the protest wound down with the crowd dispersing, the office said that as of 2 a.m. PDT it had no word of any arrests.
Local media reports said some Oakland marchers vandalized a police squad car and police formed a line to block the protesters' path.
July 13th, 2013
George Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Supporters of Martin's family who had gathered outside the courthouse yelled out "No! No!"
The jury had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.
Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had tears in her eyes after the six-member, all-woman jury delivered its verdict Saturday night.
After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.
Jurors heard two different portraits of Zimmerman and had to decide whether he was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense because he feared for his life.