Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Second-degree murder charge brought in Trayvon Martin case

April 11, 2012, 2:02 p.m. Updated April 11, 2012, 11:37 p.m.

Advertisement

— Amid furious public pressure to make an arrest in the killing of Trayvon Martin, the special prosecutor on the case went for the maximum Wednesday, bringing a second-degree murder charge against the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed black teenager.

George Zimmerman, 28, was jailed in Sanford — the site of the shooting Feb. 26 that set off a nationwide debate over racial profiling and self-defense — on a charge that carries a minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence that could put him in prison for life.

In announcing the arrest, prosecutor Angela Corey would not discuss how she reconciled the conflicting accounts of what happened or explain how she arrived at the charges, saying too much information had been made public already. But she made it clear she was not influenced by the uproar over the past six weeks.

“We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We prosecute based on the facts on any given case as well as the laws of the state of Florida,” Corey said.

Martin’s parents, who were in Washington when the announcement came, expressed relief over the decision to prosecute the killer of their 17-year-old son.

“The question I would really like to ask him is, if he could look into Trayvon’s eyes and see how innocent he was, would he have then pulled the trigger? Or would he have just let him go on home?” said his father, Tracy Martin.

Many legal experts had expected the prosecutor to opt for the lesser charge of manslaughter, which usually carries 15 years behind bars and covers reckless or negligent killings, rather than second-degree murder, which involves a killing that results from a “depraved” disregard for human life.

The most severe homicide charge, first-degree murder, is subject to the death penalty in Florida and requires premeditation — something that all sides agreed was not present in this case.

“I predicted manslaughter, so I’m a little surprised,” said Michael Seigel, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Florida. “But she has more facts than I do.”

Zimmerman’s new attorney, Mark O’Mara, said Zimmerman will plead not guilty and will invoke Florida’s powerful “stand your ground” law, which gives people wide leeway to use deadly force without having to retreat in the face of danger.

The lawyer asked that people not jump to conclusions about his client’s guilt and said he is “hoping that the community will calm down” now that charges have been filed.

“I’m expecting a lot of work and hopefully justice in the end,” O’Mara said.

Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother Hispanic, turned himself in earlier in the day and will make a court appearance as early as Thursday, when his lawyer plans to ask for bail.

Corey’s decision followed an extraordinary 45-day campaign by Martin’s parents to have Zimmerman arrested despite his claim that he shot in self-defense. They were joined by civil rights activists such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, as well as many politicians and supporters in Sanford and cities across the nation.

Protesters wore hooded sweatshirts like the one Martin had on. And the debate reached all the way to the White House, where President Barack Obama observed last month: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

The confrontation took place in a gated community where Martin was staying with his father and his father’s fiancée. Martin was walking back in the rain from a convenience store when Zimmerman spotted him and called 911. He followed Martin despite being told not to by a police dispatcher, and the two got into a struggle.

Zimmerman told police Martin punched him in the nose, knocking him down, and then began banging Zimmerman’s head on the sidewalk. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in fear for his life.

A judge could dismiss the charge based on “stand your ground,” legal experts said. But not if prosecutors can show Zimmerman was to blame.

“If you’re the aggressor, you’re not protected by this law,” said Carey Haughwout, public defender in Palm Beach County.

Zimmerman’s brother Robert Zimmerman told CNN on Wednesday night: “Our brother literally had to save his life by taking a life. And that’s a situation nobody wants to be in, ever.”

On Tuesday, Zimmerman’s former lawyers portrayed him as erratic and in precarious mental condition. O’Mara, who signed on after Zimmerman’s previous attorneys withdrew, said that Zimmerman seemed to be in a good state of mind but that the pressure had weighed mightily on him.

“He is troubled by everything that has happened. I cannot imagine living in George Zimmerman’s shoes for the past number of weeks. Because he has been at the focus of a lot of anger, and maybe confusion and maybe some hatred, and that has to be difficult,” the attorney said.

O’Mara also said the difficult case is compounded by the heavy media attention, which might make it hard to seat an impartial jury. Corey, similarly, complained: “So much information got released on this case that never should have been released. We have to protect this prosecution and this investigation for Trayvon, for George Zimmerman.”

Corey, the prosecutor in Jacksonville, was appointed to handle the case by Republican Gov. Rick Scott after the local prosecutor disqualified himself. She has tried hundreds of homicide cases and is known for tough tactics aimed at locking up criminals for a long time and making it difficult to negotiate light plea bargains.

The U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division is conducting its own investigation. But federal authorities typically wait until a state prosecution is complete before deciding how to proceed.

Tensions had risen in recent days in Sanford, a town of 50,000 outside Orlando. Someone shot up an unoccupied police car Tuesday as it sat outside the neighborhood where Martin was killed. But as the hour of the prosecutor’s announcement neared, the Martin family and their lawyer pleaded for calm.

Outside Sanford City Hall, Stacy Davis, a black woman, said she was glad to see Zimmerman under arrest.

“It’s not a black or white thing for me. It’s a right or wrong thing. He needed to be arrested,” she said. “I’m happy because maybe that boy can get some rest.”

Comments

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Meanwhile, the Surfside murder has totally fallen off the radar. Black men being killed by Black men is of little concern to the professionally outraged.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

The lesson for miscreants is that you don't know who may be armed so assault and battery is a potentially fatal exercise.

0

Gandalf 2 years ago

Profiling...racism or realism?

0

Gotland 2 years ago

Had young black men have been terrorizing this particular neighborhood? There is a reason 65-year-old Jewish grandmothers walking a neighborhood don’t raise suspicion.

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

Seems The Anointed One agress with Geraldo about hoodies.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/obama-campaign-hoodies-sale-cancelled-controversy-183726871.html

But, Geraldo was excoriated by the looney left over his remarks. Or was that just because he's a regular contributor to Fox News?

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Since the current regime seems to be pushing a race war as their best bet to win in November, you have to wonder what plans they may have rejected.

0

BornAgainAmerican 2 years ago

Easy to pick out the Loons in this forum. They are the ones who are already picking winners and losers based on mis-information gleened from the Liberal Balmestream Media.

0

deathpenaltyliberal 2 years ago

"rockchalk1977 (anonymous) replies… Unarmed people get shot everyday in America. What makes this case so different or special?"

Don't know. Maybe it's because the rightwing and the NRA wants to keep people afraid. The former so the people can be more easily controlled, the latter to sell more guns.

Disclaimer: I am a gun owner who will shoot any trespassers on my property. But packing and picking fights, not so much.

0

ProfessorSeamus 2 years ago

My question is - where was the gun when the initial confrontation took place? Because I think most people would agree that if Zimmerman had the gun out when the confrontation started then Martin had good reason to be in fear of his life. The initial confrontation seems much more suspect, to me, if Zimmerman was showing the weapon while he followed Martin. You simply cannot walk around the number brandishing a weapon and confronting total strangers without expecting something bad to happen.

On the other hand, if he had the gun put away, Zimmerman's story seems less plausible to me. If, as he claims, he was on the ground and Martin was "slamming" his head into concrete, to the point Zimmerman was screaming for help, it seems highly unlikely he would have been able, while struggling with an attacker who had the upper hand, to get the weapon out and get off a kill shot. Not impossible, but more unlikely. Had he fired and missed, or wounded Martin, that would seem to fit the story. But, after being unexpectedly attacked, knocked the ground, having his head slammed into the concrete and while being continually hit, I find it hard to believe he was able to perform the tasks required to remove the weapon and shoot his assailant so accurately.

0

deathpenaltyliberal 2 years ago

"its_just_math (anonymous) says… Blah, blah, blah...why isn't Eric Holder going after the New Black Panthers?"

The New Black Panthers. Really? In the history of mankind, never has two black guys caused more white guys to piddle themselves.

0

deathpenaltyliberal 2 years ago

"tomatogrower (anonymous) says… ... I don't know the details, but killing an unarmed person is just wrong. If the kid hit him, then why didn't he just hit him back? What a wimp."

This is the reality of the situation. All the blubbering by the Zimmerman apologists does not change the fact that he shot a unarmed person. Because he felt "threatened" by a smaller kid? I don't know why he did it, but he is a coward for pulling his gun on the kid.

0

tbaker 2 years ago

2nd degree murder (vice voluntary manslaughter) is going to be difficult to prove, given the information about the situation that is currently out there. The prosecutor has to convince the jury Mr. Zimmerman acted with 'depraved indifference' and that will be tough without any witnesses.

Since there is no lesser included charge of involuntary manslaughter, Mr. Zimmerman could be acquitted and walk, at which point we will get to see what the people of Sanford think about the rule of law. The news will be filled with corollaries between this case, O.J. Simpson, and Rodney King and the race pimps like Al Sharpton will be doing cheetah flips. Have you ever seen Sharpton standing glumly next to the mother of a young black man killed by another young black man? Speaking of, have you ever seen Al Sharpton ask for the arrest of a black male for any crime? Al Sharpton and his ilk are in the middle of this situation for one reason; to promote the white-against-black narrative that gives him his power.

0

1southernjayhawk 2 years ago

The official rate at which Blacks killed Blacks in 1994 was 876 times greater, and the rate at which they killed Whites was 164 times greater, than the rate at which Whites killed Blacks. Whites were officially twice as likely to be killed by Blacks than by Hispanics. Blacks were officially twice as likely as Hispanics and 71 times as likely as Whites to kill members of their own race. Officially, one half of the nation's homicides were committed by the 1.2% of the population who were Black males between the ages of 18-24. Officially, if there were no Blacks or Hispanics in the US, our homicide rate would be 0.2 per 100,000 population, equivalent to North Dakota or Singapore, and one fiftieth of its official record shattering high of 10.2 in 1993

0

jcoozy1978 2 years ago

I believe there are alot of comments about this situation and basically nobody really knows what happened. Just sit back and tune into Nancy Grace. She will tell you what happened. The TRUTH!!!

0

FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

What About Those Hoodies? Thursday, April 12, 2012 – by Tibor Machan

Over the last couple of weeks I have been waiting for something to be mentioned about hoodies, something that I thought was staring us all in the face. This is that during the recent London riots, nearly everyone depicted by the TV cameras was wearing hoodies as they were caught vandalizing the stores in the neighborhood under siege.

At the time, it immediately occurred to me that the reason for all those hoodies on the heads of the rioters was that they didn't want their faces to be captured on film. This would make it very difficult for investigators to do any facial recognition of those filmed committing vandalism.

http://www.thedailybell.com/3779/Tibor-Machan-What-About-Those-Hoodies

0

acg 2 years ago

Someone above said:

"We have robberies in the neighborhood and suspicious people walking around in the middle of the night. George was just looking out for his neighborhood. Obviously the police have missed the trespassers from the previous robbery attempts so letting a suspicious person slip into the night offers no incentive for would be robbers to not come back."

They said suspicious person twice in that little thought. That's the problem here people! What made this kid so suspicious? Because he was a black male! Would he have been so suspicious had he been white or female? Had this been a white female would Zimmerman have been so quick to chase him around the neighborhood and gun him down? Probably not.

0

LarryCarl 2 years ago

I've not read all the comments here... far too many for me to hack through...

but... through all of this... I've not once heard anyone mention MARTIN's right to stand HIS ground... if in fact he did... not by any media source...

he was being followed and likely and rightly so, he felt threatened...

and if it's a matter of two guys standing their ground and it's legal for the one to shoot and kill the other... welcome to frontier justice... and sure enough... we all should start carrying...

what if Martin had been armed and he had shot and killed Zimmerman?

0

Lateralis 2 years ago

“BTW, why isn't Eric Holder going after the New Black Panthers that put a 'dead or alive' bounty on Zimmerman? I think we know the answer to that question.”

Great point. Those comments are criminal. Holder is not exactly the bastion of proper legal affairs. He’s already committed perjury with fast and furious.

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

OK. So here we go. I predict A. Gets off or, B. Involuntary manslaughter and time served + maybe another year possibly suspended and parole.

BTW, why isn't Eric Holder going after the New Black Panthers that put a 'dead or alive' bounty on Zimmerman? I think we know the answer to that question.

0

Eybea Opiner 2 years ago

Suppose the facts of the case were determined to be as follows: Zimmerman sees Martin, calls the police who then tell him he needn't follow Martin. Suppose Zimmerman then (as he testifies) follows the police directive and he turns to return to his car. In the meantime, Martin, who has noticed he's being followed (as has been established) now follows Zimmerman and attacks him from the rear, turning him, knocking him down, and begins beating Zimmerman's head on the ground. Zimmerman pulls his weapon and shoots.

If---IF---these were to be the facts of the case, would anyone calling for Zimmerman's conviction on an "open and shut case" change their mind?

On the other hand, if it is discovered that Zimmerman ignored police direction to quit following Martin, then confronted him, initiated contact, then shot and killed Martin, would anyone defending Zimmerman's action change their mind?

As is so often the case there seems to be a rush to judgement without all the facts being known.

0

BiPolarWookie_w_PhD 2 years ago

When the mother of the victim has already been quoted as saying "It was an accident", then that right there already dooms the case of Murder in the second degree. There isnt a potential juror in the country now that hasnt read that. I bet they have a retrial with Manslaughter.

0

FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

I'm thinking Police should "at least" release the name of the black man that murdered White Hispanic Daniel Adkins on April 4 in Arizona. Let alone "charge him" for murdering an "unarmed White Hispanic" at Taco Bell.

It is troubling that in Florida, death is a "flaming" national event when a Black man is killed by "self defense" but in Arizona a White Hispanic is murdered and "no one" hears about it or cares.

When will The Flexible Obama comment on the Black man looking like his son....if he had one?

*As the world waits for a Florida prosecutor to determine whether George Zimmerman will be arrested for killing African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, thousands of miles away, near Phoenix Arizona, a mirror murder case is unfolding. A black man who shot and killed a white man after an argument erupted between them in the parking lot of a Phoenix-area Taco Bell last Tuesday has not been arrested and a community is asking why.

Taco Bell Shooting Victim was Holding Leash, Not Weapon: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

“He needs to be behind bars. I’ll never see my brother again,” the victim’s sister Marina Reyes,*

http://www.dominionofnewyork.com/2012/04/10/black-arizona-man-kills-white-man-claims-self-defense-escapes-arrest/#.T4bQf1FtrQ8

0

jaywalker 2 years ago

I'm thinking that charging him is the right thing to do since most details aren't clear-cut. What concerns me is there seems to be a pretty good chance he could walk when all is said and done. And the furor this incident has sparked to date could be dwarfed by the repercussions of such a ruling. I'm imagining post-Rodney King rioting on a national scale, though I certainly hope not.

0

akt2 2 years ago

One important thing to remember is that if you are profiling and stalking with the intent to kill, make sure you call the police while you are doing it.

0

thuja 2 years ago

Assemble bits and pieces of an incomplete and distant puzzle and draw a picture that you think is correct...

big mistake.

0

Bob Forer 2 years ago

The jury will probably be instructed on lesser included forms of homicide such as manslaughter. I think it may be difficult to obtain a second degree murder conviction. My gut feelings tells me he will probably be convicted of a lesser homicide, and probably won't do a whole lot of time for having killed someone--probably something less than ten years.

But then again, only bits and pieces of the evidence have been made available to the media for public consumption, so its just a guess. Heck, if Zimmerman can sell his story to the right jury, he could walk.

Not suggesting he should.

0

ochocinco 2 years ago

The riots will occur, regardless of the outcome of the case. Rodney King 2.0.

0

overplayedhistory 2 years ago

I think it is the cops who handled the non-investigation and let all the evidence slip away should be on trial. George's case to compromised. We'll see what they got. The whole Sanford department should be flushed. To me this should be about police corruption more than race or a law that does not apply, unless you intend to prove how such a law might have affected George's psyche.

0

jhawkinsf 2 years ago

Hypothetical: I'm in my home when I hear a burglar enter. I grab my gun and shoot the burglar. I'm guilty of nothing. If however, the burglar hears me coming and fleas through the back door and I then shoot him, I'm guilty of a crime. I've heard a lot of discussion about Zimmerman having followed Martin. I've heard it said he broke off that activity and that Martin doubled back and attacked Zimmerman. The key question of fact as far as I can tell is did Zimmerman break off his activity of following Martin after the police told him to do so. If he didn't, then he's probably guilty. If he did break off the activity after being told to do so, and Martin doubled back and confronted Zimmerman, then he's probably not guilty. Can anyone say for certain whether or not Zimmerman broke off his activity of following Martin?

0

Steven Gaudreau 2 years ago

Beyond a reasonable doubt? Good luck.

0

FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

observant 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

RoeDapple 2 years ago

"arrested and charged with second-degree murder Wednesday after months of mounting tensions and protests across the country"

Months? It's been six weeks. So now Brendan Farrington and Gary Fineout, by way of the Associated Press, continue the distortion of facts by the media.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Good luck finding a jury untainted by the inflamed press.

0

jonas_opines 2 years ago

Given what's known about this already (i.e. pretty much nothing), without some pretty compelling evidence that has not yet been mentioned by the media or officials, I can't see how it will be possible to prove his murderous or confrontational intent beyond reasonable doubt. If that's the case, then he needs to walk. That's the way our justice system is (rightly) set up.

His being found not guilty will not necessarily be in indication of racism, nor will it mean that the deceased was, by definition, a thug that started a fight and got what was coming to him. Although I'm reasonably sure, should this be the result, that a lot of people will try to convince us of both of those points.

0

poolside 2 years ago

I do not agree it was "sick political pandering". Obama is first and foremost a person.,and it was from his person, not his position, from which he spoke.

0

pace 2 years ago

I don't know how this will turn out, but it is better to have it in court. I would worry if stand your ground was interpreted as it is ok to hunt them down.

0

collective82 2 years ago

I just wish the media itself hadn't made such a larger ruckus of this. First they edit the 911 call to make him sound racist, then they portray he said a racist word when he hadn't, oh don't forget they had to go back over the police video tape because oops, it wasn't clear enough to show that he did have some head wounds. This story has been so twisted and turned only the truth presented in court will be the real story. And personally Obama should have stayed out of this. Especially claiming him to be like his child, thats just sick political pandering to the masses.

0

Bob Forer 2 years ago

Six weeks too late, but I least they will now lete a jury of 12 decide the case as opposed to the initial prosecutor who rubberstamped Zimmerman's "version" and denied the request of investigating officer for an arrest warrant.

Thank goodness for the public outcry. Otherwise, no charges would have ever been filed.

0

rockchalk1977 2 years ago

This is a tragedy many are struggling to understand. Since I wasn't an eye witness to the events I say let the judicial system figure it out based on the evidence. What I do know for sure is everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That's the standard.

What's equally as tragic, but gets little or no media attention, is the ongoing violence in Chicago. Between March 16th -19th this year, 41 mostly young black males were shot and killed in Chicago. Ten were killed in Obama’s former neighborhood. T Willard Fair, President of the Urban League of Greater Miami, recently said "the outrage should be about black-on-black crime.” He asked rhetorically, “Wouldn’t you think to have 41 people shot in Chicago between Friday morning and Monday morning would be much more newsworthy and deserve much more outrage?”.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/race-wars-part-1-the-shocking-data-on-black-on-black-crime/

Where is the outrage?

0

slvrntrt 2 years ago

It is the job of the court to decide. Not the chief of police.

I am very glad that Zimmerman will finally have his day in court.

0

DillonBarnes 2 years ago

I think the big question will come down to who started the confrontation. If Zimmerman started it, he will have a very hard time using a self-defense argument. If Martin started the confrontation, Zimmerman may be found not guilty.

0

ljreader 2 years ago

I jumped to the conclusion that this shooting was unjustified when I heard the initial coverage. However, there are questions. There was a 911 call from another tenant who described Zimmerman on the ground with a guy beating him. Zimmerman had visible bleeding and head wounds on the back of his head, which matches with his story that the kid was bashing his head against the pavement, so who knows.

0

Lateralis 2 years ago

Following a suspicious person in your neighborhood in the middle of the night is not a crime. Zimmerman's injuries have been substantiated and suggest that he was attacked. I'd like to know how anyone can say that he provoked an attack.

0

Steve Jacob 2 years ago

I hope this is not for show. If Zimmerman's story never changed, and with no record for his age, it's hard not to believe his story of self defense, from a legal stand point.

0

JayhawkFan1985 2 years ago

If charges are filed, it will be about time. This is an open and shut case...an adult with a gun shot and killed an unarmed child. The adult was stalking the child. The police told the adult to not follow the child. All the talk about the so called stand your ground laws are irrelevant to this case because the adult was not standing his ground, he was chasing the child. Anyone who argues otherwise based on what has been reported to date is either stupid or a racist or both. Even if the adult was defending himself, he provoked the confrontation. A trial is the only fair way to sort this out. It is really unfortunate that so many people had to protest the lack of charges being filed. Btw, I'm white.

0

Lateralis 2 years ago

I don't think we have all of the evidence. What we do know from the 911 transcript was that Zimmerman was active in informing the police. They asked him to not follow Trayvon but it's not a crime to do so. The police wanted an address to be directed to so George followed him to get an accurate address. Zimmerman's injuries were accounted for by eye witnesses and may have been a victim himself. They questioned him for 5 hours before releasing him. I think what they did was no different than many other cases like this. Hell they didn’t arrest OJ right away and he was running from the police!

This neighborhood has had 8 reported robberies within the last year and one just as recently as Feb 2nd. I put myself in his shoes. We have robberies in the neighborhood and suspicious people walking around in the middle of the night. George was just looking out for his neighborhood. Obviously the police have missed the trespassers from the previous robbery attempts so letting a suspicious person slip into the night offers no incentive for would be robbers to not come back.

I’m not sure how everyone here feels about getting assaulted but if I can stop someone from assaulting me I’m probably going to do it….armed or not. George should be celebrated as a neighborhood hero.

0

tomatogrower 2 years ago

They also need to go back and reconsider charges of all murderers who got away with murder through the "stand your ground" laws. I hear that's what sent those guys in Tulsa over the edge. One of guy's father was killed, but the person got off with one of these laws. I don't know the details, but killing an unarmed person is just wrong. If the kid hit him, then why didn't he just hit him back? What a wimp.

0

Paul R Getto 2 years ago

Might get interesting now, if they can find him.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.