Charges the Zimmerman Jury Will Consider

Charges the Zimmerman Jury Will Consider

[Orlando Sentinel]

Assistant state attorney Bernie de la Rionda holds up evidence to the jury while presenting the state's closing arguments against George Zimmerman during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel) (Gary W. Green / Orlando Sentinel / July 10, 2013)
Assistant state attorney Bernie de la Rionda holds up evidence to the jury while presenting the state’s closing arguments against George Zimmerman during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel) (Gary W. Green / Orlando Sentinel / July 10, 2013)

When jurors begin deliberating Friday in the George Zimmerman case, they will decide if he should be convicted of second-degree murder or the lesser offense of manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Or they could find him not guilty.

If found guilty of the most serious charge, Zimmerman could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Although the specific instructions being provided to Zimmerman’s jury were not made public Thursday, to prove he is guilty of second-degree murder, the state generally must show these things beyond a reasonable doubt:

•Trayvon is dead.
•His death was caused by Zimmerman’s criminal act.
•There was an unlawful killing of Trayvon by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a “depraved mind without regard for human life.”

To prove Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter, the state will likely need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

•Trayvon is dead.
•Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused Trayvon’s death.
•The death of Trayvon was caused by the culpable negligence of Zimmerman.

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