Zimmerman Charged for Murder of Trayvon Martin
Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey has decided to charge George Zimmerman with the second-degree murder of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in what has become a racially heated case. The defendant was arrested and charged on Wednesday and appeared in court on Thursday for the first time. If he’s found guilty of the charge, he could be imprisoned for 25 years to life.
According an affidavit, Zimmerman profiled Martin, who was unarmed and not committing a crime at the time of the shooting. Martin’s mother has also identified screams heard in the 911 call as her son’s, following questions about who was calling for help in the background. Martin is said to have told a friend on the phone just before the shooting that he was being followed and was scared. The 17-year-old is said to have been trying to get home, but Zimmerman left his vehicle and followed him. The affidavit also notes that Zimmerman disregarded orders from the police dispatcher to stop following Martin.
Zimmerman has given a different story about what happened, claiming self-defense and saying that it was his voice calling for help in the background of the 911 call. He claims that he was attacked by Martin, who punched him in the nose. The defendant’s father and brother say Martin then repeatedly slammed his head against a concrete walkway. Zimmerman then pulled out a 9mm handgun, which was licensed, and shot Martin in the chest once.
This account has been put into question since there was little evidence of injuries in surveillance video of Zimmerman as he was being taken to the police station. Judge Mark E. Herr said on Thursday that he finds probable cause to go ahead with the case and that an arraignment will be held before another judge on May 29. Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, says his client will plead not guilty and invoke the ’stand your ground’ law in Florida. This legislation gives people room to use deadly force instead of retreat from a fight.