George Zimmerman trial jurors consider lesser manslaughter charge

Day 25 of George Zimmerman trial

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter
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SANFORD, Fla. - After about 12 hours of deliberation, jurors in the George Zimmerman trial had a question for the judge.

Judge Debra Nelson read the jurors' note in court: "Can we please have clarification on the instructions regarding manslaughter?"

Special section: George Zimmerman trial

This was seen as a clear sign that the jury is considering the lesser-and-included manslaughter offense added by the prosecution as a possible compromise verdict.

Manslaughter in a case involving a gun is considered a first-degree felony. The sentencing could range from 25 to 30 years in prison or 30 years of probation.

READ: Jury instructions

For a manslaughter charge to stand, prosecutors don't have to prove Zimmerman's intent to cause death, only an intent to commit the inexcusable act that caused death.

Zimmerman's attorneys had objected to adding the lesser charge for the jury to consider. Nelson added the charge on July 11.

"Self-defense is self-defense," defense attorney Mark O'Mara said earlier in the trial. "What happened out there was not a crime, so in that context there shouldn't have been" any charges.

If jurors find Zimmerman shot Trayvon to defend himself from "imminent death or great bodily harm", they must acquit him.

Nelson responded with a request of clarification, but jurors had not responded as of 9:45 p.m.

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Haygood v. State, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 2013

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