After The Verdict: A WLRN Radio Special Report
Not guilty. That was the verdict reached Saturday night by an all-female jury in the George Zimmerman trial. Reaction to the decision in South Florida, like the rest of the country, has ranged from shock and anger to relief.
Although the verdict is in, South Floridians aren't ready to close the book on George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin just yet, as people either defend or try to make sense of the jury's decision.
Our special report examined the verdict with local experts in law and sociology.
Miami criminal defense attorney Jude Facciodomo said he was not surprised by the verdict:
"It's a unique argument, whereas most times when you're arguing to a jury, you're saying something that's foreign to them. But self-defense is something that people can really associate with."
University of Miami law professor Tamara Lave also weighed in. She said the outcome of the case could set a troubling precedent in Florida:
"I think this sends a message to people that have guns to shoot first and think later because they can look at George Zimmerman and say: well, if we kill somebody and there's nobody else around, we're probably going to get away with it."
Florida International University sociology professor Percy Hintzen said he wasn't surprised by the verdict, especially considering public reaction prior to Zimmerman's arrest:
"There wasn't violence. There were protests. And consequently, I'm not sure why it is that there was an anticipation of violence here."
Hintzen pointed out that nobody expected those who supported Zimmerman to react violently in the event of a guilty verdict.
South Florida residents also shared their thoughts on Twitter:
Chris in Key West gets the last word. Says he thinks this is typical of FLA. "The farther north you go, the farther south you go."— WLRN Public Media (@WLRN) July 14, 2013
Miami Herald reporter Evan Benn, who covered the trial in Sanford, and WLRN-Miami Herald News reporter Rick Stone, who has covered the story from South Florida, also made appearances during the special hour.