You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

George Zimmerman case goes to jury in Fla.

Police urge calm after verdict in trial

George Zimmerman listened to the judge Friday in the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Fla.

JOE BURBANK/POOL

George Zimmerman listened to the judge Friday in the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Fla.

SANFORD, Fla. — With police and civic leaders urging calm, a jury began deliberating George Zimmerman’s fate Friday after hearing dueling portraits of the neighborhood watch captain: a policeman wannabe who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life.

Police in this Orlando suburb went on national television to plead for peace in Sanford and across the country, no matter what the verdict. ‘‘There is no party in this case who wants to see any violence,’’ Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said. ‘‘We have an expectation upon this announcement that our community will continue to act peacefully.’’

Continue reading below

During closing arguments, Zimmerman’s lawyers put a concrete slab and two life-size cardboard cutouts in front of the jury box in one last attempt to convince the panel that Zimmerman shot the unarmed black 17-year-old in self-defense while his head was being slammed against the pavement.

Lawyer Mark O’Mara used the slab to make the point that it could serve as a weapon. He showed the cutouts of Zimmerman and Martin to demonstrate that the teenager was considerably taller. And he displayed a computer-animated depiction of the fight based on Zimmerman’s account.

He said prosecutors hadn’t met their burden of proving Zimmerman’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a rebuttal, prosecutor John Guy accused Zimmerman of telling ‘‘so many lies.’’ He said Martin’s last emotion was fear as Zimmerman followed him through the gated town house community on the rainy night of Feb. 26, 2012.

Jurors had deliberated for 3½ hours when they stopped Friday evening.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.