As George Zimmerman was found not guilty Saturday night for second-degree murder and manslaughter, many are looking back to the case that spanned more than 16 months. From 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s slaying in February 2012 to the verdict that has everyone reeling, here’s a timeline of the controversial Zimmerman case.
February 26, 2012: Martin is found shot and killed, with several eyewitnesses telling police they heard a fight, then a cry for help and a gunshot. Zimmerman, 28, is seen standing over Martin’s body while wielding a handgun and reportedly sporting a bloody nose and a wound on the back of his head.
Martin is pronounced dead at the scene, and police find no weapons on him, just a bottle of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman claims he killed Martin in self-defense and police do not arrest him or administer a drug or alcohol test.
March 16, 2012: Public outrage about the case begins to spread as Martin’s family hears the 911 calls made February 26. The Change.org petition from Martin’s family asking for Zimmerman to be prosecuted gathers more than 250,000 signatures in its first few days. In total, it gained 2,278,988 signatures.
March 19, 2012: The U.S. Justice Department launches an investigation into the case.
March 21, 2012: Hundreds of people take to the streets of New York calling for justice in the Martin case during a protest dubbed the Million Hoodie March, so named because of Zimmerman’s assertion that his victim looked “suspicious” in his hooded sweatshirt.
The protest was attended by Martin’s parents in their first public appearance since the shooting.
March 23, 2012: President Obama says during a White House press conference: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness that it deserves and we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
That same day, 50 schools in Florida hold walkout protests, and ?uestlove goes off on Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera for comments the veteran newsman made in which he said, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman.”
March 29, 2012: Though Zimmerman originally told police that Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose and then slammed his head repeatedly into the ground, a police surveillance tape emerges from the night Martin was shot and shows no blood or bruises on Zimmerman. Later, enhanced videos showed marks on his head.
April 3, 2012: FBI launches its own investigation.
April 11, 2012: Zimmerman goes into police custody and is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting.
June 1, 2012: Zimmerman’s $150,000 bond is revoked after police learned he and his wife were speaking in code to hide their assets. He had been asking for donations first on TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com and then on GZlegalcase.com. He had at least $135,000 in his bank account after receiving donations.
June 3, 2012: Zimmerman is back in jail, this time with a bulletproof vest.
June 12, 2012: Shellie Zimmerman is charged with perjury after lying about her and her husband’s finances.
July 5, 2012: Bond is set at $1 million.
July 18, 2012: In his first televised interview, Zimmerman tells Sean Hannity that he did not stalk Martin and apologized to the victim’s family.
August 30, 2012: Judge Kenneth Lester disqualifies himself from the case after a request for Zimmerman’s legal team and a 5th District Court of Appeal ruling.
April 30, 2013: Under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the court will not see the defense’s evidence until the trial. Zimmerman had put out video reenactments on GZlegalcase.com in June 2012 of what happened during the shooting.
June 20, 2013: A jury is selected and consists of six women and four alternates.
June 24, 2013: Opening statements were heard at the beginning of the second-degree murder trial.
July 13, 2013: After 16 hours of deliberation, Zimmerman is found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.