A Florida jury on Saturday resumed deliberating the fate of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, a case that has triggered debate in the U.S. public for more than a year.
The jury of six women, sequestered since the trial began last month, deliberated for more than three hours on Friday without reaching a decision of second-degree murder, manslaughter or acquittal for Zimmerman, who says he shot the teen in self-defense under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.
Zimmerman, 29, says Martin attacked him on the rainy night of Feb. 26, 2012, in the central Florida town of Sanford. Prosecutors contend Zimmerman was a "wannabe cop" who tracked down the teenager and shot him without justification.
The jury, which must reach a unanimous verdict, heard 12 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments under the eyes of Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson.
Ronald Fulton, Martin's wheelchair-bound disabled uncle who was very close to the slain 17-year-old, said on Saturday that waiting for a verdict was one of the hardest things to do.
"It's like everybody wants to know the next step of what's happening, and that's why it's so tense," the 50-year-old Fulton told Reuters in a phone interview from his Miami home.
"If he is acquitted what would be the recourse from that?" Fulton asked. "These things are weighing on me heavily."
The judge said she will let the jurors set their own working hours.
On Friday, the jury sent a note to the judge asking for a full inventory of evidence in the case, which has dominated U.S. media, sparked street demonstrations and raised questions about race and guns in America.
Zimmerman's family appealed for calm, whatever the verdict, saying they had complete trust in the U.S. justice system.
"As we await a verdict we will remain hopeful and ask for the public to remain peaceful no matter the outcome," they said in a statement to CNN. "The judicial system has run its course, pray for justice, pray for peace, pray for our country."
© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.