Criminal Justice

Zimmerman Charged with 2nd-Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin Slaying, Is In Custody

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Confirming earlier news reports citing unidentified sources, a Florida special prosecutor announced at a news conference Wednesday that a second-degree murder case is being pursued against a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford who shot an unarmed teenager in February.

George Zimmerman has turned himself in and is in custody in an unknown location, reports the Miami Herald. The Associated Press also reported the same information in an article and a news brief published by the Washington Post (reg. req.).

In a case that ignited a national controversy, Zimmerman said he killed an unarmed black youth in self-defense. Local authorities declined to charge him in the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, pointing to a state law that allows those who feel threatened to stand their ground and defend themselves.

However, special prosecutor Angela Corey, who was appointed by the Florida governor to re-examine the case, said the facts justified a second-degree murder charge, the Herald reports.

“It is the search for justice for Trayvon Martin that has brought us to this moment,” she told reporters on Wednesday, adding “We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition.”

On Tuesday, Zimmerman’s former lawyers, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, announced they had not been able to reach him for days and were no longer representing him. “George can’t go down to the 7-Eleven to buy a Coke,” Uhrig told Fox News at the time. “There’s a bounty on his head. Whether it’s believed to be a bounty or not, it’s out there. He probably watches more of this than he should. He’s largely alone—whether that means he’s absolutely alone or not, he’s at least emotionally alone. And you might even say ‘emotionally crippled’ by virtue of the pressure of this case.”

Related coverage:

Bloomberg: “Trayvon Martin Review by U.S. Is ‘Independent,’ Holder Says”

USA Today: “AG Holder vows thorough review in Trayvon Martin case”

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