George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder. Zimmerman has shaken the nation when he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in what he calls self-defense, on Feb. 26 in the gated community where Zimmerman served as a neighborhood police volunteer.
Zimmerman’s attorneys say he will plead not guilty to the charges, standing by the Stand Your Ground defense that found him innocent in a previous investigation.
Zimmerman has been in hiding, after his incident sparked a fury of public response, in a location where police refuse to disclose. “He is within the custody of the law enforcement officers in the state of Florida” was all special prosecutor Angela Corey would say regarding it.
The prosecution aims to prove that Zimmerman shot with malice, and with no premeditation, though they need only prove he acted unlawfully and with criminal negligence.
“They will go very hard at [Zimmerman's] credibility,” said Paul Callen, a defense attorney commenting on the case. “This is how prosecutors customarily disprove bogus self-defense claims.”
Zimmerman has received a new defense team after the last one withdrew, claiming that Zimmerman lost contact with them and that he ignored their legal advice, such as when he contacted Corey’s office directly and had an off-the-record talk with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
When Zimmerman was charged, Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s attorney, said “Thank you, Lord,” while Trayvon’s parents held hands.
Rev. Al Sharpton, an outspoken defender of Martin, thanked those who supported Martin:
“People took their time and money, and stood up and said that that could be my son, that could be my grandson, and because of that this got a second look. Even conservative on the other side of the political spectrum said we’re going to take another look.”
But he warned, “We do not want anyone high-fiving tonight. There is no victory here. There are no winners here. They lost their son. This is not about gloating. This is about pursuing justice.”
Nevertheless, many are celebrating, including Trayvon William, 26, who joined 200 at his church to respond to the latest news. “The mod is just … happy, but still more like a sigh of relief,” said Williams. “It feels just like when you have a headache, a migraine and you take an aspirin and you just can feel the pressure slowly starting to ease.”
It is the hope of Florida’s justice system, nevertheless, that justice be served despite outspoken and vehement opinions from the public and the media on both sides.