Jurors acquitted George Zimmerman in a racially charged trial on Saturday over the killing of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The six jurors deliberated all day and well into night on Saturday before returning a verdict of not guilty against Zimmerman, who argued that he had acted in self-defence in the February 2012 fatal shooting.

While race had not overtly entered the language of the trial, it shadowed the case since it first gained national attention.

Charges in the case were filed only six weeks after the killing of 17-year-old Martin, when a special prosecutor was appointed by state officials in response to nationwide protests.

Defence lawyer Mark O’Mara argued that Zimmerman fired in fear for his life, in the middle of a fight with Martin.

The prosecution countered that Zimmerman had followed the teenager on his way home from a candy store, and had expressed hatred of local teens in a call to a police dispatcher moments before the shooting.

Zimmerman did not testify in his defence.

The all-female jury’s verdict acquitted him of both murder and manslaughter charges.

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