Defense and Prosecutors Respond to Zimmerman Acquittal

Don West says he is pleased that the jury "kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty."

Posted: 07/13/2013 10:59 PM EDT

After George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder of slain teen Trayvon Martin, representatives from both sides weighed in.

Defense attorney Don West said he was "ecstatic" about the result and that Zimmerman should never have been prosecuted.

"I think the prosecution of George Zimmerman was disgraceful. I am gratified by the jury's verdict. As happy as I am for George Zimmerman, I'm thrilled that this jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty," said defense attorney Don West. "For that we are eternally grateful. But it makes me sad, too, that it took this long under these circumstances to finally get justice."

The defense team also described Zimmerman's reaction to the jury's verdict.

"I don't know exactly how you can feel when you're in trauma and stress for 16 months and he's very, very happy with the result obviously. It's just a release that happens – an emotional release, an endorphin release, an adrenaline release," attorney Mark O'Mara told reporters. "I think it's probably going to settle on him tonight when he's with his family and can actually realize that he doesn't have to come back to the courthouse tomorrow or ever again unless he wants to under his free will."

O'Mara added, however, that Zimmerman may still be worried about his own safety and how people might react to the verdict, but expressed hope that people will respect the jury's decision.

He also suggested that the prosecution didn't fight fairly in the case and forced the defense team to have to fight for discovery information.

"They out-funded us. They made it extraordinarily difficult. If only we had the time back that it took us to fight for the information in discovery, the just result that we had to fight for, this case might have been tried six months ago," O'Mara said. "Was it fair? It was a little bit David and Goliath, but we won."

State attorney Angela Corey said it was "challenging" to take over a case that had already been investigated, but expressed confidence that the Sanford Police Department had done its job properly.

"We believe they did everything that they could that night," she said. Corey also said the case was never about race or the right to bear arms, which she strongly supports, but added that Zimmerman didn't use that right "responsibly" and there is "no doubt" that Martin had been "profiled."

"We believe that this case was all along about boundaries and that George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries," Corey said.

A visibly angry prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda said "it boils down to you've got a 17-year-old kid, who was minding his own business, wearing a hoodie, and gets accosted, gets followed by an individual who wants to be a cop."

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 (Photo: Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images)

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