George Zimmerman, who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in a confrontation that still has many unanswered questions, has been charged with second degree murder.
Florida State’s Attorney Angela Corey, who is acting as a special prosecutor, announced yesterday evening that she will charge Zimmerman with second degree murder, weeks after he confessed to killing Trayvon. Zimmerman is now in custody, according to Corey.
The arrests followed 45 days of protests, petitions and intense national media coverage of the case, according to the Miami Herald.
Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, issued a statement expressing gratitude that “justice may finally be served.”
“We are still devastated by the loss of our son Trayvon Martin, and nothing can bring him back. But today, we are heartened to tell you that justice may finally be served for Trayvon,” they said in the statement.
“For weeks after Trayvon was killed, authorities refused to arrest Zimmerman. We couldn’t believe that in 2012, public officials would turn a blind eye to our son’s killing. We couldn’t let that happen,” they added.
“We are so much closer to justice with the decision to bring charges against our son’s killer. We feel less alone knowing that so many people stood with our family during this impossible time.”
Zimmerman, 28, was expected to appear for a bond hearing today (Apr. 12). Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, said his client will plead not guilty to the charges. “He’s stressed,’’ O’Mara told CNN. “He’s tired. He’s been through a lot with the way this case has been handled to date.’’
Fulton appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” this morning (Apr. 12) and expressed sympathy for Zimmerman’s family. But added: “I’m sure his parents can pick up the phone and call him, but we can’t pick up the phone and call Trayvon any more.”
Fulton told Ann Curry that the slaying of her 17-year-old son was “an accident.”
“I believe it was an accident,’’ she said. “I believe that it just got out of control, and he couldn’t turn the clock back. … I would ask him, did he know that that was a minor, that that was a teenager and that he did not have a weapon.”
If the shooting is portrayed as an accident, then the most Zimmerman could be convicted of is likely involuntary manslaughter, which carries far less jail time than second degree murder. He also might not spend any time in jail because it’s his first offense.