Nightly News   |  July 14, 2013

The aftermath of the Zimmerman trial

Though George Zimmerman’s criminal trial has ended, there are plenty of questions surrounding the road ahead for both him and the family of Trayvon Martin. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> two days the eyes of the country were focused on the six jurors in the case who spent some 16 hours'ing the evidence. n nbc's ron mott with some insight into the trial itself and where the state's case may have come up short. ron ?

>> good evening to you. much of the past 16 months in sanford, florida, especially the past five weeks at the courthouse have been focused on the george zimmerman case, a case that ended late last night with eight words. rising to his feet, george zimmerman waited for his future.

>> we the jury find george zimmerman not guilty.

>> reporter: blinked once, twice, he was free.

>> juror b, 76, is this your verdict?

>> yes.

>> reporter: after a quick poll of the jury, measured emotion from zimmerman 's family and friends, hugs and kisses, thanks to the defense team. his wife wiped tears. moments later zimmerman was gone, so, too, the ankle monitor tracking him for a little more than a year. his father via twitter kept it simple. our whole family is relieved.

>> obviously we are ecstatic with the results, george zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. i'm glad that the jury saw it that way.

>> reporter: the trial and the divisions fueled by trayvon martin 's killing sparked intense debate in and out of the courtroom, when everything from gun control to self-defense to race.

>> trayvon martin was profiled. there is no doubt that he was profiled to be a criminal. and if race was one of the aspects in george zimmerman 's mind, then we believe that we put out the proof necessary to show that zimmerman did profile trayvon martin .

>> reporter: proving the state's burden, many experts say was daunting from the start.

>> the prosecution may have succeeded in showing that george zimmerman was wrong to get out of the car with a gun that night but they never eliminated reasonable doubt about self-defense.

>> they were devastated.

>> reporter: the verdict brought more heartache to trayvon martin 's parents who skipped the reading. his dad, tracy martin , also taking to social media writing "even though i am brokenhearted, my faith is unshattered. i will always love my baby tray." today martin family attorney benjamin crump addressed the naacp contention in nearby orlando saying his clients are considering options in a civil lawsuit but now are reflecting on their son.

>> they are at this moment focused on defining the legacy of their child so they're taking all of that into consideration.

>> reporter: the justice department reaffirmed its open investigation into the death of trayvon martin to see if if any federal rights violations occurred. george zimmerman can have his gun back upon request. lester?

>> ron mott, thank you.