Over the weekend, a jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of unarmed death of 17 year old, Trayvon Martin. The jurors apparently found that there was not enough evidence to prove Zimmerman was not acting in self-defense when he killed Martin last February. I actually agree with the not guilty verdict on the second degree murder charge. The prosecution did not prove second degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt and I do not believe Zimmerman had any of the “ill will or hatred” necessary for a second degree murder conviction.
However, I think Zimmerman should have at least been convicted of manslaughter. The fact still remains that if Zimmerman had not followed Martin and stayed in his car – as he was directed to do by the 911 operator – Trayvon would still be alive. Though we cannot prove who was on top during the fight that occurred moments before Zimmerman fired the fatal shot, we can prove that Trayvon felt he was in danger when he saw Zimmerman following him. Zimmerman, himself, said Trayvon was running and Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon moments before he died, said that he described Zimmerman as “creepy.” These facts prove that Trayvon believed he was in danger when Zimmerman was following, so when Zimmerman exited his car Trayvon had a right to defend himself. Accordingly, even if Trayvon was on top, which we still don’t know to be true, he was only defending himself against Zimmerman’s aggression. Therefore, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense should not have been enough for him to escape a manslaughter conviction.
I hope Zimmerman feels some remorse for Trayvon’s death. However, his remorse does not change the fact that his overzealousness to catch a criminal caused him to follow, confront, and kill an innocent teenager and he should have been consequences for his actions.