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Report: George Zimmermann To Be Charged In Trayvon Martin Shooting

The Washington Post is reporting that the special prosecutor handling the investigation into the Trayvon Martin shooting plans to file charges against George Zimmermann as early as today:

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation.

It was not immediately clear what charge Zimmerman will face.

Martin, 17 and unarmed, was shot and killed Feb. 26 by Zimmerman, who said he was acting in self-defense. Police in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, did not charge Zimmerman, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law.

Corey told reporters Tuesday night that she would hold a news conference about the case within 72 hours. A news release from her office said the event will be held in Sanford or Jacksonville, Fla.

Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Martin family, said this week that Corey’s office had asked where Trayvon’s parents would be each day this week. They arrived Wednesday in Washington for a civil rights conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where they are scheduled to speak.

The announcement of a charge against Zimmerman would come a day after Zimmerman’s attorneys withdrew from the case, citing their inability to contact Zimmerman.

Lawyers Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig on Tuesday expressed concern about Zimmerman’s emotional and physical well-being, saying he has taken actions without consulting them. They also said they do not know where Zimmerman is.

“You can stop looking in Florida,” Uhrig told reporters. “Look much further away than that.”

Many will ask if yesterday’s bizarre press conference may have prompted Corey to act more quickly than she might have otherwise. That doesn’t strike me as an unfair question at all. When you have a suspect’s lawyers getting on national television saying that (1) they’ve lost contact with their client, (2) that he might be mentally unbalanced, and (3) that he isn’t in Florida and they don’t know where he is specifically, the obvious concerns of flight risk come into play. Filing charges now would either prompt Zimmerman to come out from hiding, or turn this into a manhunt.

Stay tuned.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned into a “suicide by cop” scenario at the end.

    What a mess.

    I’m hoping that this will convince Florida to repeal their Stand Your Ground law, but they probably won’t.

    Amazing how much death we’re willing to live with for the supposed sake of the 2nd Amendment. Oops, we allowed a felon to get a gun who just shot his ex-wife. Gee, too bad, so sorry. Oops, we allowed someone who turned out to be crazy to get a gun and he shot up a classroom of kids. Too bad, so sad, guess that’s the breaks. Oops, we’re allowing people on terrorist watch lists to buy guns without any restraint…..

    Is it really that horrible to say You Don’t Get A Gun Unless You’ve Got A Clean Background, Get Training And You Register The Bloody Thing? Considering how the law courts have stomped all over the Fourth Amendment, I’m surprised for the continued veneration of the Second, no matter what happens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  2. DRS says:

    Grumpy, if you take the word “gun” and substitute the phrase “p***s extender”, it all makes much more sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Dr Kepler says:

    @Grumpy —

    This case is NOT and NEVER has been about “Stand Your Ground.” Period.

    In the end, this case will most likely be resolved with manslaughter charges, because Zimmerman, after making the initial report, should have stayed his distance, as the 911 operator told him to do. I highly doubt it will result in murder charges, since the evidence does indeed suggest that TM attacked Zimmerman first.

    Nowhere in this scenario is “SYG” invoked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Is it really that horrible to say You Don’t Get A Gun Unless You’ve Got A Clean Background, Get Training And You Register The Bloody Thing?

    Grumpy, certainly you have to be aware that that’s exactly what is required legally to purchase firearms. You can’t simply walk into a gun shop and walk out with a gun in your hand. There are waiting periods. There are background checks. You do have to demonstrate proficiency. There is a registration requirement.

    (There are potential loopholes in some states with live gun shows and unregistered dealers and truncated waiting periods, but those represent a tiny percentage of all firearms sales. It’s a tough issue. It’s difficult to fashion legislation in that precise arena that works for all concerned parties.)

    Also, as Dr. Kepler stated, the SYG law in this particular case is a giant red herring. This was a garden variety street encounter that’s become a cause celebre simply because of the race angle and the media’s agenda-driven coverage. It’s not a test case for the viability of SYG laws. It’s a likely manslaughter case with an obvious self-defense angle involving a guy who apparently made a very poor decision in not hanging back and letting the chips fall. Don’t fall into the media’s high dudgeon trap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  5. DRS says:

    If it hadn’t been for the media attention in the first place, there wouldn’t be an investigation now. It did happen in February, after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. stan chaz says:

    Help bring some good out of this terrible tragedy. The organization called ALEC has actively fostered the spread of  “STAND YOUR GROUND” laws to many states. These are the very same laws that led to the Trayvon Martin murder in Florida. Many mainstream corporations have funded ALEC, BUT as their funding has been publicized they have withdrawn their support. Call or write or email the following two ALEC supporters: JOHNSON  and JOHNSON, and STATE FARM …or ….visit www.pfaw.org/ditchALEC. Please urge these companies to their cut ties with ALEC. Tell them that they should not want their brands associated with the dangerous laws ALEC promotes — including voter suppression, NRA-backed “stand your ground” laws, extreme racial profiling laws targeting immigrants, privatizing public education and protecting corporate polluters. If you do not want YOUR hard earned money to be used AGAINST your best interests, then tell State Farm and Johnson and Johnson, in no uncertain terms:  DON’T FUND ALEC! 

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  7. legion says:

    Latest update – Zimmerman is in custody now & being charged with manslaughter. Not that it’s an outcome I’d favor, but I do hope he’s on 24×7 suicide watch…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. matt says:

    The requirements for murder two has me worried. I would of preferred a form of manslaughter. I don’t believe the man did it with evil intent and I think that will cause problems with a jury.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You can’t simply walk into a gun shop and walk out with a gun in your hand. There are waiting periods. There are background checks. You do have to demonstrate proficiency. There is a registration requirement.

    I can walk into Walmart and walk out with a shotgun, long rife, and cart full of ammunition. No waiting. No background check. No proficiency. No registration.

    To buy a handgun, the dealer has to do an instant check with the FBI (through NCIS). Last time I bought one (4 months ago?), the check took 6 minutes. No registration. No proficiency. No waiting.

    Stop making things up.

    There are potential loopholes in some states with live gun shows and unregistered dealers and truncated waiting periods, but those represent a tiny percentage of all firearms sales.

    I contend you’re making that up also.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. An Interested Party says:

    I contend you’re making that up also.

    This is Tsar Nicholas you are talking about…par for the course and all of that…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0