George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has been acquitted. The not guilty verdict was reached just before 10 p.m. on Saturday after jurors deliberated all day.
Earlier in the evening jurors had asked the judge for clarification on her instructions regarding a manslaughter conviction. Judge Debra Nelson conferred with lawyers and both sides agreed on language about how the judge would respond to the question.
A manslaughter verdict would have meant jurors had rejected Zimmerman's claim he shot and killed Martin in self defense. About two and a half hours later, jurors returned to the courtroom and announced a not guilty verdict.
About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse, mostly in support of a guilty verdict, shouted support for Martin and waving banners.
The six-woman jury has the option of acquitting Zimmerman or convicting him of second-degree murder or manslaughter in the death of Martin. Jurors began weighing evidence against Zimmerman Friday and recessed after three and a half hours.
Zimmerman, 29, smiled briefly after hearing the verdict, but did not immediately show any emotion. State prosecutors had argued that Zimmerman profiled, stalked and murdered the teen on Feb. 26, 2012, which resulted in protests across the nation and some overseas locations.