SANFORD, Fla. -- After more than 16 hours of deliberations, a panel of all women acquit George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman was visibly relieved after hearing the words "not guilty" when the verdict was read shortly after 9 p.m. Central time.
He shook hands with his defense team who fought to get him acquitted of all charges.
The family of Trayvon Martin was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read.
Besides not guilty, the jury had two other choices: to find Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder or to find him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The jury worked through lunch Saturday to reach a decision, and earlier in the evening asked the court to clarify instructions regarding manslaughter.
Zimmerman claimed from the beginning of the February 2012 incident he shot Trayvon Martin in self defense.
Saturday afternoon, Benjamin Crump, the Martin family attorney, asked for peace regardless of the outcome.