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American Zimmerman acquitted in Trayvon Martin killing


14:16, July 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 13 (Xinhua) -- A Jury in U.S. state Florida on Saturday night acquitted George Zimmerman, who shot and killed African American teenager Trayvon Martin last year in a case which sparked heated debate on race and guns.

The Jury, after over 16 hours of deliberation, passed down its verdict, which found Zimmerman not guilty of Second Degree Murder, nor did the jurors find him guilty of manslaughter.

After the verdict was passed down, Judge Deborah Nelson set Zimmerman free, saying to him that "your bond will be released. Your GPS monitor will be cut off when you exit the courtroom over here. And you have no further business with the court."

Zimmerman, according to live TV coverage, showed no obvious signs of emotion. He smiled briefly, and shook his attorney's hand. His family were present at the court, while Martin's parents were not.

Martin, a 17-year-old high school student, was fatally shot while walking to the house of his father's fiancee in a gated community in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman, then 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer, called the police to report suspicious activity that night, and followed Martin. They then engaged in a fight, and Zimmerman ended up fatally shooting Martin.

Zimmerman was charged last April with Second Degree Murder. Because of perceived racial elements in the case, it received national attention, and U.S. TV stations have been covering it live since court proceedings began last month.

During the court proceedings, Zimmerman's lawyers said Martin assaulted Zimmerman first, and he shot the teen in self-defense because he feared for his life. Many, who are concerned it might ignite violence if Zimmerman was acquitted, have called for calm regardless of the result of the case.

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