July 14, 2013 at 12:20 PM ET
Though the parents of Trayvon Martin sat through every day of the George Zimmerman murder trial, they were not in court when the verdict was read.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Trayvon Martin family, said the family was told the jury had reached a verdict but they decided to not return to the courthouse to hear it in person. "We notified them, they were headed home, they thought, and we agreed, very important for them to be in church this morning," Crump told Lester Holt on TODAY Sunday.
Jurors delivered their decision Saturday night, finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin after about 16 hours of deliberation.
“Quite simply they are heartbroken,” Crump told TODAY’s Lester Holt Sunday of Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.
"They're talking to young people in their families, trying to explain to them about the justice system. They had a lot of questions of us about the justice system, and the jury, and now they're just putting their faith in a higher authority."
Martin's father spoke out via Twitter after the verdict was read, tweeting late Saturday:
The testimony lasted 12 days and included 56 witnesses and more than 200 exhibits. A court order is in place to protect jurors' anonymity.
Speaking of the jury, Crump said, "Well, they came to their decision. We disagree with it but we have to accept the rule of law," he said. “Right now whether we as a country progress or regress is going to depend on what we learned from this tragedy,” he said.
When asked about whether Martin’s family would bring a civil suit against Zimmerman, Crump said, “Right now they're just trying to make sense of this all...They're not thinking about that. They are trying to deal with the grief of losing their son and then not having his killer held accountable, and so they're working on their foundation, things they can control, to try to preserve the legacy of Trayvon Benjamin Martin."
George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.