Residents React to Zimmerman Verdict

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CLEVELAND - In Northeast Ohio, reaction is mixed following the 'not guilty' verdict reached in the George Zimmerman case.

WTAM opened the airwaves Sunday for callers to voice their comments on the verdict.

One caller said he thought the average American is rather appalled that the jury did not find Zimmerman guilty of either second degree murder or manslaughter.

Cleveland criminal attorney Ian Friedman was on the other end of the microphone ready to respond. Friedman said it’s not about whether the jury got the verdict right, it’s that the judicial system worked.

"The real question is, did he get a fair trial?  Did the state put forward all of its evidence?  Did the defense have the opportunity to question all of it? They did. The jury decided. They made their verdict based on all the evidence that was presented in that courtroom. The process worked,” Friedman said.

The jury had but one question to answer: did George Zimmerman shoot Trayvon Martin in self-defense? That was the focus of this criminal case.

"People are trying to make this into a race and a gun issue and so forth," said Friedman. "It really comes down, when you bring it all in, did Mr. Zimmerman fear for his life? Did he conduct himself in defense of himself?"

The jury said Zimmerman did.

Another caller believed that Zimmerman feared for his life and he didn’t believe that it was race related.

“But, I do think that an innocent person got killed because somebody with a gun set a series of events in motion and made up a story that got them off, acquitted,” the caller said.

Another caller wondered if Zimmerman was really judged by a jury of his peers since it was comprised of six women. Friedman said that was up to the attorneys to decide.

"This case was to be colorblind. This was not about sex. This was about impaneling a jury that could be fair. Both the prosecution and the defense felt these six jurors could be fair,” he added.

Friedman said a high profile case like this one brought attention to the law and how our criminal justice system works.

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