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George Zimmerman trial: Jurors ask for clarification about manslaughter charge

George Zimmerman arrives for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool

George Zimmerman arrives for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013.
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool

Updated: 8:12 p.m. ET 

(CBS/AP) SANFORD, Fla. - Early Saturday evening, jurors in the George Zimmerman trial asked for clarification on the "instructions regarding manslaughter." This came from a note read by the judge in the courtroom around 6 p.m. ET.

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

The jury, a panel of six women, have been deliberating since Friday afternoon. They are weighing a second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman, who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a confrontation last year in a gated Sanford, Fla., community.

The jurors, who have been sequestered for nearly three weeks as the proceedings have stretched on, are also weighing the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Zimmerman, 29, pleaded not guilty. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense.

Their question was, "May we please have clarification on the instructions regarding manslaughter?"

(Watch a report from CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann at left)

As jurors awaited an answer, Judge Debra Nelson talked to lawyers at the bench and then said court would recess for a half-hour.

When attorneys returned, prosecutor Richard Mantei said that after conducting research, he would suggest asking the jurors to elaborate. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara agreed.

"Let's get clarification on their confusion," O'Mara said.

The judge then sent a note back to the jury that read: "The court can't engage in general discussion but may be able to address a specific question regarding clarification of the instructions regarding manslaughter. If you have a specific question, please submit it."

Jurors were back in court briefly at 9 a.m. on Saturday and then resumed their deliberations in private. A verdict could come any time Saturday. There was a 30-minute court recess just after 6 p.m.

The jurors did not make any other requests Saturday.

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial-Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider


  • Branden Cobb

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