Trayvon Martin Shooter George Zimmerman Facing Second-Degree Murder Charge
George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin this past February, is in custody and officially now faces a second-degree murder charge.
"We did not come to this decision lightly," appointed special prosecutor Angela Corey told gathered media late Wednesday afternoon in Jacksonville, according to MSNBC. Corey was appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to oversee the case's investigation after original Sanford, Fla. prosecutor Norm Wolfinger recused himself.
She announced earlier this week that she would not bother bringing the case against Zimmerman before a Sanford grand jury convening this past Tuesday. Under Florida law, Zimmerman must now be brought before a Seminole County judge within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, during a gathering she attended by Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Trayvon's mother Sybrina Fulton expressed her first measure of relief since her son's death.
"We just wanted an arrest, and we got it, and I say thank you. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus," Fulton said.
Though Ben Crump, the attorney for Fulton and Trayvon's father Tracy Martin, affirmed the importance of Zimmerman receiving an eventual fair trial, he also added, "We believe in our hearts that he was wrong to kill Trayvon Martin."
Remarks by Corey hinted that a "fair trial" may be difficult to maintain by this point.
"So much information on this case has gotten released that never should have been released," Corey added.
Zimmerman, 28, has admitted that he shot Martin during a Feb. 26 nighttime altercation while Zimmerman made his rounds through Martin's neighborhood. Zimmerman is half-white, half-Peruvian, and the differing accounts - and media portrayals - of the incident with Martin, a black teenager, have started combustible American race relations dialogues and disputes over firearm self-defense laws.
The initial refusal by Seminole County authorities had sparked nationwide outrage, and simmered racial tensions amid allegations that Zimmerman had been let off because he'd slain a black teenager. Zimmerman has claimed adamently that he shot Martin in self-defense and would argue as such under Florida's Stand Your Ground Law protecting from prosecution individuals who open fire to defend themselves, loved ones or property.