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Zimmerman’s Jury Granted the Option of Choosing Manslaughter Charge
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The prosecution in the Zimmerman case, in which George Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, might be realizing they don’t have what it takes in testimony to prove that the former neighbor watchman, Zimmerman, acted with ill will, spite, or hatred when he shot Martin. They requested that the judge allow Zimmerman to be considered for the lesser charge of manslaughter, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson instructed the panel of six women jurors that they could consider the lesser offense of manslaughter. If he is convicted of second-degree murder, he could face up to life in prison.

Closing arguments are being made Thursday afternoon, after 55 witnesses have testified in a case that his being highly scrutinized in the media, charged, as it is, with racial overtones that Zimmerman, who is half Mexican, perhaps was going to get away with murdering a black youth. The intensity of those who see it as a civil rights case have forced Zimmerman to go into hiding and hire a body guard.

  
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The defense attempted to keep the choices between the hard-to-prove charge of second-degree murder and acquittal, with West, Zimmerman’s attorney, saying “His position is the the state has charged him with second degree murder, and they should be required to prove it if they can.”

On Wednesday the state also tried to include an aggravated assault charge against Zimmerman, saying that he committed third-degree felony murder while committing child abuse, but they dropped the charge.

The new charge “simply requires that the victim be under the age of 18 and be subjected to … child abuse,” prosecutor Richard Mantei told the judge, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

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West rose from his seat and said “Oh my God. Just when I thought this case couldn’t get any more bizarre … The state is seeking third-degree murder based on child abuse. Is the court going to give this any serious contention or consideration? Because if so, we have a lot of talking to do.”

When explained that the charge required a felony charge, West said “Child abuse? Really? This is not fair to me, Mr. Zimmerman [defense counsel] Mr. [Mark] O’Mara or the court. … This is outrageous.”



“This was a trick,” West said. “Doesn’t the court realize this was a trick by the state….” Such tactics as this would finally work out for the defense as the trial came to a conclusion.



 

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