Zimmerman trial jurors to be instructed on lesser charge: judge

SANFORD, Florida Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:31am EDT

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson speaks from the bench in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Gary W. Green/Pool

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson speaks from the bench in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida July 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary W. Green/Pool

Related Topics

SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - Jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial will be told they can potentially convict him for the lesser charge of manslaughter for the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, a Florida judge said on Thursday.

"The court will give the instruction on manslaughter as a Category One," Seminole County Court Judge Debra Nelson said.

The decision on the instructions that will be given to the panel of six woman jurors was announced by Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, as lawyers for the defense and prosecution argued in a hearing closed to the jury about the instruction they will be given in the closely-watched case.

Zimmerman, 29, faces up to life in prison if he is convicted of second-murder, the charge for which he was put on trial. Under the lesser offense of manslaughter, he could face a maximum penalty of 30 years.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (47)
reach4thegoal wrote:
The jurors seems kinda sexist having no males in it. And i feel that it is not right in the middle of one case to change his charge to a different one that they are trying to charge him with. Have to finish one before you start another, Cant realize that the first one wont work and change it before starting all over again.

Jul 11, 2013 10:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:
This judge is little more than a witness for the prosecution.

Jul 11, 2013 10:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
wyattb wrote:
Did the prosecution make their case. No they didn’t. They even began to argue the defense theory with Zimmerman on the bottom. No on 2nd degree murder and No on the lesser included charge of manslaughter. Defenses to Florida Voluntary Manslaughter Charges: Justifiable use of deadly force to defend against a felony committed against a person or property.

Zimmerman on the bottom, head being beat off the sidewalk, in fear of his life, screaming for help and no one coming to his aid….he cannot be found guilty on the lesser included charge.

Jul 11, 2013 10:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.