George Zimmerman Charged With Second-Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin Case

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George Zimmerman will face criminal charges in the death of Trayvon Martin.

According to a senior law enforcement quoted by CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and the Associated Press, the neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla., will be charged criminally in the February 26 case that has captivated the nation.

A legal analyst said earlier that the most likely charge would be manslaughter, but it was just announced that Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges.

George Zimmerman Picture

A press conference announcing the decision took place at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to look into the incident, stated earlier that she would not take the case to a grand jury.

That automatically ruled out first-degree murder as an option, but the second-degree murder charge was still on the table - and ultimately what Corey decided.

“I can tell you we absolutely did not come to this decision lightly,” Corey told reporters moments ago. “We do not prosecute by public pressure.”

Zimmerman is in custody, Corey confirmed, though she gave no additional details. CNN reports that he surrendered to local officials earlier today.

Lawyers for Zimmerman, 28, stepped down from the case Tuesday, saying he'd become uncommunicative and expressing concern for his emotional and physical well-being.

"As of the last couple days, he has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails," Craig Sonner, one of Zimmerman's former attorneys, said. 

"He's gone on his own. I'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to. I cannot go forward speaking to the public about George Zimmerman and this case and continue representing him because I've lost contact with him."

Describing Zimmerman as "emotionally crippled" by the scrutiny he's faced in the wake of the shooting, attorney Hal Uhrig said Tuesday that he and Sonner are concerned for their former client's mental and physical well-being.

They also implied that he may have considered leaving Florida in the wake of the intense media scrutiny, but that's a moot point now.

Trayvon Martin Pic

Sonner and Uhrig told reporters that Zimmerman, against their advice, had contacted the special prosecutor, Corey. He also set up his own website to collect donations without his lawyers' knowledge, they have said.

George Zimmerman, who is half white and half Hispanic, maintains he was acting in self-defense when he shot the African-American Trayvon Martin, 17.

Zimmerman has said he shot Martin in self-defense after the youth struck him in the face, knocked him down and began pounding his head into the ground.

But many believe Zimmerman was in fact the aggressor, emboldened by his status as the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in his neighborhood.

The teen was killed shortly after Zimmerman called 911 after seeing him walking in his neighborhood at night, stirring national debate over racial profiling.

Martin was unarmed at the time, but police found insufficient evidence to prove that Zimmerman acted outside the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.

The Florida state law broadly permits the use of deadly force if a person is attacked and fearing severe harm or death and acting in self-defense.

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@Hardcore Mom - the answer is yes, if your kids are half Armenian they should expect that people may think of them as terrorits. Why? Because during 911 a LOT of INNOCENT people were KILLED by terrorits! WAKE UP, honey! People react negatively to blacks and certain ethnic races because of past crimes. No one crosses the street when an Asian walks by, because Asians don't cause all these crimes. You should raise your kids to understand that they will be judged by the past horrible acts done by others of their race. That's a fact!

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Please! Zimmerman has Jeb Bush, NRA and every gun lobby group in the State buckling down to defend their stupid law. If theres anything to be learnt here, its that stand your ground law is a law that every mother in the world needs to stand up against. My son is half Armenian, he looks Arab to some stupid people. Will some bigot try to shoot him and claim he was in fear of his life from a "terrorist"? My kids already experience discrination based on their Middle Eastern appearance, now some dumb politician allows concealed weapons on the street and a law like this? This law must go!

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Take note gentlemen - the Power of a Mother. Advice to any killers out there, if you wanna get away with murder, its advisable to check first if theres a mom in the picture. If there is, you are gonna have to kill her too!

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@Scot - I agree! It is crazy how much the country reacts when blacks start shouting in large groups. The press brought on these charges. I think the guy is innocent. The courts should review the facts and the black community should LISTEN to the FACTS rather than just blabbing about what they THINK occured!

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the only reason black men wear hoodies is to not be seen while committing crimes, period. no white guys wear them. be real, people, if black people want to not be profiled, they should start acting like normal citizens.

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geez, before any evidence is presented, the entire country is assuming this white guy is guilty. when anything happens to a black, jesse, al, and the NAACP all get involved. this poor white guy has no one, and is probably innocent of all charges. this country needs an organization that can stand by white people and protect THEIR rights, like those duke lacrosse players, and others who everyone thought were guilty and were later found not guilty.

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If you find yourself thinking that it is okay to LOOK at a person, DECIDE that they are criminal, the proceed to adminster a death sentence...I can only say one thing. I hope someone does that to you, your family, your child. See how you will like that then.
Justice for Trayvon

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In our justice system, you do not get to judge, jury and executioner. Zimmerman by admition was following Martin and continued to do so even then the 911 operator instructed him not to do so, that law enforcement has been alerted.
If you find yourself thinking that it is okay to LOOK at a person, DECIDE that they are criminal, the proceed to adminster a death sentence...I can only say one thing. I hope someone does that to you, your family, your child. See how you will like that then.
Justice for Trayvon

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nobody in their right mind would call 911 and then murder someone!!! GZ was being attacked by a thug and he defended himself....deal with it! the Black civil rights leaders lynched Zimmerman in the public... and that is the only reason he got charged! He will be found not guilty and we the taxpayers will have to pay for it all because of racist idiots like Al Sharpton who don't give a damn about anyone's civil rights unless they're black! When Zimmerman wins.... I sincerely hope he sues the hell out of Sharpton and his goons for all the costs and loss he has endured....all for looking out for his neighborhood! Shame on Florida for bowing down to pressure from the Black community instead of doing whats right!

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No, sweetheart, the world has not grown up. There have been countless instances of racial profiling and race-related violence in the past, and they are still going on to this day. We have had people lynched in the past, and we have had people shot currently, because of their race. You're living in a dreamland if you think otherwise, unfortunately. I hope we can come to a point where everyone puts race as a non-issue and nobody cares about the colour of anyone's skin, but we're not there yet, obviously. Even when Obama became President, there were still people who didn't like him because of his race, despite the fact that him being able to run for President, let alone win the election, was a massive and inspiring step in the right direction, there's still tensions for some people.