After twelve hours of deliberation over three days, the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict in the case against Noor Salman, the wife of Pulse Nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Ms. Salman was acquitted on all charges of aiding and abetting the commission of a terrorist act and of obstructing justice.
“Ms. Salman wiped tears from her eyes after the verdict on the first charge was read,” reported the New York Times. “By the time the judge’s clerk announced the final ‘not guilty,’ Ms. Salman openly sobbed. Across the courtroom, Pulse victims and their families sat in stone-faced silence.”
The verdict comes nearly two years after the June 12th tragedy that left 49 dead and 53 others wounded. The defense built a case “which cast Ms. Salman as a naïve woman of limited intelligence, kept in the dark by a scheming husband who cheated on her, knew she did not share his radicalized views and did not need her assistance to carry out his deadly plot.”
In an announcement on Facebook, Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse Nightclub, stated, “I respect the criminal justice process, and we all have to trust that the jury made its decision free of bias and emotion. Those of us directly affected by this tragedy must find peace in our hearts and remember that he was the one who pulled the trigger that night. He was the perpetrator, and he should not have one more minute of power over our lives.
“This verdict cannot and will not divide us,” she continued. “The survivors, families, and first responders as well as the community of Orlando and everyone around the world must now focus on the work ahead of us. We will always carry the pain of what happened at Pulse, and we will never forget those who were taken. We will wrap our arms around all affected today and in the days to come. It will be difficult, but we will focus now on healing, and we will continue to work to help communities emerge from violence and hate. It is as important today as it was 21 months ago.”
To read more about the case, click here.