Justice for Trayvon Martins as killer is charged for 2nd degree murder

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    George Zimmerman has been arrested for murdering Trayvon Martin, charged in the fatal shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old, State Attorney Angela Corey announced Wednesday.

    The second-degree murder charge means the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer faces life in prison, if convicted.

    He is being held at an undisclosed location in Florida without bail, kept secret for his own safety, Corey said.

    The announcement means Corey doesn’t buy Zimmerman’s claim that he shot the teen in self-defense and instead knowingly killed him with a ‘depraved mind.’

    Any trial that could result from the charges is likely to be a sensational spectacle — even for Florida, which witnessed the drama of Casey Antony’s acquittal.

    Thousands of protestors have demanded Zimmerman face charges after the February 26 shooting of Trayvon, who was unarmed.

    Zimmerman turned himself in Tuesday, was handcuffed that night and questioned, though police released him after he claimed he killed the 17-year-old in self-defense. He said he was attacked in his gated community in Sanford, Florida.

    ABC News reported last month that the chief police investigator wanted to arrested Zimmerman, but the local State Attorney’s Office objected, fearing prosecutors couldn’t win a conviction.

    The uproar over Trayvon’s death, killed wearing a hoodie as he walked back to his father’s apartment after buying a snack, led Florida Gov Rick Scott to appoint Corey as the special prosecutor for the case.

    Trayvon parents

    On Monday, she announced that she would not empanel a grand jury to determine whether Zimmerman should be charged. Instead, she said she alone would make the decision.

    Attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said during a news conference Tuesday that they haven’t heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday, and their calls and text messages haven’t been returned.

    Sonner said: ‘I just can’t proceed to represent a client who doesn’t stay in contact with me’.

    Uhrig added that the attorneys ‘started reaching out in every way that we knew how to get him,’ but to no avail.

    Zimmerman is currently in hiding, and while Sonner and Uhrig claim they don’t know where he is, it’s far away from Florida.

    Uhrig said: ‘You can stop looking in Florida, you can look much further away from that.’

    ABC News reports that prosecutors aren’t sure where Zimmerman is, either.

    However, his former lawyers added that Zimmerman had contacted Corey, the prosecutor, a move they said went against their legal advice.

    He also contacted Fox News host Sean Hannity without his attorney’s knowledge or approval. The details surrounding that call were not immediately known.

    Zimmerman is likely to be charged with either second-degree murder or manslaughter.

    He cannot face first-degree murder, murder with premeditation, because only a grand jury can bring that charge in Florida.

    Instead, the highest crime he could face is second-degree murder.

    In Florida, second-degree murder is a willful killing with a ‘depraved mind’ that is not premeditated.

    The maximum penalty is life in prison and the minimum is 16 and three-quarters years.

    Manslaughter

    A manslaughter conviction in Florida brings at least 9 and one-quarter years in prison and a maximum of 15 years.

    However, Zimmerman could walk free — despite the charges — if he can convince a judge or a jury that he acted lawfully, in self-defense.

    Under Florida’s now-controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, Zimmerman only has to prove that he had a reasonable belief that he would be killed or severely injured when he shot Trayvon.

    In police reports, leaked to the press, Zimmerman told investigators he followed Trayvon February 26 because he didn’t recognize the hooded teen as he walked through the gated community where Zimmerman worked as a neighborhood watch volunteer.

    Zimmerman called police to report the teen and got out of his truck and walked around the neighborhood on foot.

    That’s when Trayvon attacked him, he says. He was sucker-punched in the face and knocked to the ground.

    Zimmerman told officers he opened fire after Trayvon threatened to kill him and bashed his head several times against the sidewalk.

    The case has roiled race relations throughout the country, with many saying Trayvon was targeted because he was black.

    Zimmerman, 28, is half-white and half-Hispanic.

    If the case goes to trial, public interest could dwarf the last big Florida court case — the acquittal of Casey Anthony.

    The shooting has been the subject of untold hours of media coverage and every available detail has been analyzed.

    As such, lawyers for the case will no doubt have great difficulty finding jurors who have not made up their minds about the shooting — much less those who haven’t followed the case.

    Killer Gorge Zimmerman

    February 26: Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old from Miami, is shot dead by George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch captain who claimed he acted in self-defence.

    March 8: The Sanford Police Department releases its report of the shooting, saying that Zimmerman had initially called 911 to report a ‘suspicious person in the area’.

    March 17: Police release George Zimmerman’s 911 call, in which he says that Martin looks like he’s ‘up to no good’.

    March 19: The U.S. Department of Justice announces that it will investigate the shooting.

    March 22: Civil rights leader Al Sharpton leads thousands in a protest demanding Zimmerman’s arrest in Sanford. That same day, Police Chief Bill Lee Jr resigns.

    March 23: President Obama weighs in on the case, saying: ‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon’.

    March 28: Director Spike Lee apologises for sending a tweet that he thought revealed George Zimmerman’s home address. It wasn’t, and it forced an elderly couple who did not know Zimmerman to vacate the home.

    March 30: A video of Zimmerman on the night of the shooting shows him handcuffed with no visible trauma to his nose, despite him saying it had been broken in a scuffle with Martin.

    April 3: An enhanced version of the video appears to show what look like gashes or welts on the back of Zimmerman’s head.

    April 9: Zimmerman breaks his silence on a website set up for legal donations, saying he has ‘been forced to leave my home… and ultimately my entire life’.

    April 10: Zimmerman’s lawyers announce that they are dropping him after a number of failed attempts to reach him, and several actions against their advice.

    April 11: Zimmerman is taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder.

    -mailonline