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Florida jury deliberates Zimmerman case
Jurors must reach a unanimous verdict on either second-degree murder, manslaughter or acquittal. A deadlocked jury would result in a mistrial, possibly leading to the whole courtroom drama unfolding once again.
Zimmerman, 29, says he shot Martin in self-defense after he was attacked on the rainy night of Feb. 26, 2012, in the central Florida town of Sanford. Prosecutors contend Zimmerman was a "wannabe cop" who tracked down the teenager and shot him without justification.
"As we await a verdict we will remain hopeful and ask for the public to remain peaceful no matter the outcome," they said in a statement to CNN. "The judicial system has run its course, pray for justice, pray for peace, pray for our country."
In closing arguments on Friday, lead defense lawyer Mark O'Mara attempted to shift the blame to Martin, saying he was the aggressor who attacked Zimmerman after lying in wait.
The hateful person that rainy night was Martin, not Zimmerman, O'Mara told the jury.
Earlier, O'Mara warned jurors against filling in holes in the prosecution's case, cautioning against making presumptions and assumptions.
He dramatized that length of time by pausing for four minutes, leaving the courtroom silent.
After the Sanford police chief stepped down the normally assigned prosecutor recused himself, the governor appointed a special prosecutor, who charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder 45 days after the shooting.
"We will not tolerate anyone who uses the verdict as an excuse to violate the law," Sheriff Donald Eslinger told reporters. (Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou, Bernard Orr)
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