It’s official: George Zimmerman has been charged with 2nd degree murder by a Florida special prosecutor.
From Fox News:
Special prosecutor Angela Corey says that the 28-year-old Zimmerman is in custody, but wouldn’t say where for his safety. She said that he will be in court within 24 hours.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s new lawyer, said that Zimmerman will plead not guilty to the murder charge. O’Mara also said he is “hoping that the community will calm down.”
Corey says that authorities did not come to the decision lightly, nor was it based on public pressure. She wouldn’t disclose other details of her investigation, saying: “That’s why we try cases in court.”
A second-degree murder charge in Florida carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. It is typically charged when there is a fight or other confrontation that results in death and where there is no premeditated plan to kill someone.
Corey said the decision to bring charges was based on the facts and the law, declaring: “We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition.”
Says the LA Times:
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 the aggressor, emboldened by his status as the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain.
I covered (but didn’t cover) the original story: The Trayvon Martin Shooting.
William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection said:
What irked me was to hear the prosecutor thank the Martin family attorneys — that seems a little close for my liking in a prosecutor, and in fact the Martin family attorneys have acted irresponsibly in the media as I have addressed before.
I saw on Twitter that the Martin family held a press conference with Al Sharpton by their side, but I didn’t get to see it. Although Zimmerman now is charged, and the case is in the courts, I expect the Martin family attorneys, Sharpton, and others continue to work the case in the media from a racial angle and to inflame passions in the community as a means of tainting the jury pool.
For the prosecutor to embrace the Martin family attorneys with thanks at the press conference, and for AG Eric Holder verbally to praise Sharpton today, tells me that a case which should be about facts of who did what to whom is going to turn into an even bigger racial narrative for a variety of purposes which have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the accused.
I agree that it is disturbing that the prosecutor and the Martin family attorneys (attorneys? really, plural?) are so chummy. And I fully expect the trial by public opinion to continue business as usual, with Al Sharpton leading the crusade.
My sincerest hope is that justice is done here. Whether Zimmerman is guilty or not, I hope that the facts of the case would determine that, and not the opinions of so many armchair quarterbacks.