SANFORD, Fla. - After deliberating all day on Saturday jurors in theGeorge Zimmerman murder trial asked for clarification on theinstructions regarding manslaughter.
At about 6 p.m. ET lawyersfor both sides appeared in court where Judge Debra Nelson conferred withthem about the manslaughter question and then recessed court.
Whenthe lawyers returned more than a half hour later the lawyers workedtogether on a note the judge sent back to jurors asking them to submit aspecific question about manslaughter.
It reads in part that the court cannot engage in general discussions about manslaughter.
"If you have a specific question, please submit it," the response says.
Amanslaughter verdict would mean jurors rejected Zimmerman's claim hekilled in self defense and "intentionally committed an act or acts thatcaused the death" of Trayvon, according to Florida's definition of thecharge.
"It clearly means man two is off the table," said RandyReep, a Florida criminal defense lawyer, who was referring to the seconddegree murder charge. "If you watch the judge give any input oninstructions you'll be very surprised how little she really gives. Theremust be an element of manslaughter that the jury is struggling with andthey were hoping to have the judge clear it up for them. But shewon't."
Jurors resumed deliberations Saturday morning asprotesters gathered outside the courthouse and the nation watched for averdict.
They entered their 10th hour late in the afternoon as thecourthouse buzzed with anticipation. Seminole County Sheriff officers,in pine-colored uniforms, were tightly patrolling the entrance of thebuilding allowing only pre-approved people into the building.
About100 demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse, shouting slogans,waving banners and arguing with one another about the case. At 5 p.m. ETemotions ran high as the large crowd gathered at a fountain.
Sheriff'sdeputies escorted two demonstrators away from the fountain after theyverbally clashed, drawing crushes of cameras and gawkers.
Jurors deliberated for three hours before breaking for lunch. They resumed their discussions about 1 p.m. ET.
JudgeNelson sent them into the jury room when they first came in saying "allof the evidence will be back there with you," referring to a requestFriday by jurors to see an inventory of all the evidence in the case.
Thesix-woman jury has the option of acquitting Zimmerman or convicting himof second-degree murder or manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin.Jurors began weighing evidence against Zimmerman Friday and recessedafter three and a half hours.
Zimmerman, 29, a formerneighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Trayvon, 17, in self-defenseafter being attacked. State prosecutors, however, claim Zimmermanprofiled, followed and murdered the teen on Feb. 26, 2012.
BenjaminCrump, an attorney for Martin's family, said the parents are emotionalbut doing as well as expected as they await a verdict.
"(Jurors)staying out longer and considering the evidence and testimony is a goodthing for us arriving at a just verdict," Crump said.
Police and civic leaders have pleaded for calm in Sanford and across the country after the verdict is announced.
InNew York on Saturday, the Rev. Al Sharpton said that no matter theverdict, any demonstrations that follow it must be peaceful.
"We do not want to smear Trayvon Martin's name with violence," the civil rights leader said. "He is a victim of violence."
Beforethe jury began weighing evidence Friday, Nelson told the panel theymust find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman is guilty of acrime.
"You must presume innocence. ... Zimmerman is not required... to prove anything,'' she said. "The state must prove the allegedcrime was committed. It's up to the state to prove his guilt."
Deliberationsin the high-profile case began shortly before 2:30 p.m. Friday, afterAssistant State Attorney John Guy gave the state's rebuttal statementsto the defense's closing statements.
Guy, looking intently at jurors, said "that child had every right to be afraid of a strange man following him."
Followinga state tactic used throughout the trial, Guy quoted from Zimmerman'sconversation by cellphone with a police dispatcher soon after spottingTrayvon. The prosecutor focused on Zimmerman saying "f--king punks" and"these a--holes always get away." Those words, Guy argued showed thefrustration, hate and spite that motivated Zimmerman to shoot Trayvon.
Guyalso put up a split screen of pictures: Trayvon's dead body on thegrass and the bloody head of George Zimmerman after the shooting.
"Who lost the fight?" Guy asked. He added that if Zimmerman is acquitted it will send a message that grown men can follow and kill children.
Healso repeated a sentence he delivered in his opening statement in therebuttal: "The defendant didn't shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to,he shot him because he wanted to," he said.
Mark O'Mara, one of Zimmerman's lawyers, argued in a lengthy closingstatement that his client is a conscientious citizen who fired a fatalbullet into a teen while fighting for his life. O'Mara used severalvisuals in his closing, including a chart about reasonable doubt,self-defense and a computer animation showing Trayvon walking up toZimmerman and punching him.
Trayvon, instead of going home, likely hid, waited for Zimmerman and confronted him, O'Mara said.
"Thatis not an unarmed teenager," O'Mara said in his closing statement,explaining with an actual concrete slab that Trayvon used his fists and asidewalk to threaten great bodily harm.
The defense attorney saidthat Zimmerman was not the aggressor and that the state's case arguingZimmerman's cursing on a police call was ill will doesn't make sense.
"The fact that he was willing to say it on a call with law enforcement is evidence of non-guilt," O'Mara said.
Abouttwo hours into their review Friday, jurors asked Nelson for aninventory of all the evidence in the case. Some of the items includeseveral statements Zimmerman gave to police, Trayvon's autopsy reportand photos of both Zimmerman's injuries and Trayvon's body. More than 50witnesses testified as well including forensic experts who testifiedabout the angle in which Trayvon was shot, the position Zimmerman's gunmay have been in, and where DNA and blood was found.
If convictedof second-degree murder, Zimmerman could face life imprisonment. If he'sfound guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter, he faces a prisonsentence of up to 30 years.
Contributing: Rick Neale, Florida Today; Associated Press.