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Entries in Angela Corey (2)

Wednesday
Apr112012

Charges Filed in Trayvon Martin Case; George Zimmerman in Custody

Win McNamee/Getty Images(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Six weeks after the controversial shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, special prosecutor Angela Corey has announced that George Zimmerman is to be charged with second-degree murder.  

Zimmerman is in custody after turning himself in, Corey confirmed in outlining the charges Wednesday at a news conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

"He is within the custody of law enforcement officers in the state of Florida," she said. Sources told ABC News that Zimmerman was en route to Sanford, where the shooting occurred.

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Zimmerman, 28, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, shot and killed Martin, who was unarmed, on Feb. 26 after following the Sanford, Fla. teenager for several minutes.

The second degree murder charge is similar to manslaughter in that it does not require premeditation on Zimmerman's part.

If convicted of the charges Zimmerman could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

A bond hearing will be held Thursday when Zimmerman can apply for bail, Corey said.

Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's new lawyer, said Wednesday evening that he intended to seek his release at Thursday's hearing and said that he spoke briefly with Zimmerman.

"He's troubled by the fact that the state decided to charge him," O'Mara said.

The lawyer also said Zimmerman is scared.

"I think anyone who is charged with second degree murder would be scared. Yes, he's frightened," O'Mara said.

Corey opened her news conference by saying that she had spoken with Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, when she took over the case last month and "we told those sweet parents" that they would get answers.

She also worried that the "overwhelming amount of publicity in this case" could complicate efforts to get an impartial jury, adding that there was "so much information on this case that was released that shouldn't have been released."

Martin's parents said at a news conference Wednesday evening that they were grateful that Zimmerman has been arrested.

"We simply wanted an arrest," Sybrina Fulton said. "We got it and we say thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus."

Tracy Martin said, however, "This is just the beginning. We have a long way to go ... and we will march and march and march until the right thing is done."

O'Mara said that the case has become emotionally charged and that his client "is concerned about getting a fair trial. We need to calm this down and it needs to be tried in a courtroom."

He also said he is worried about Zimmerman's safety.

"If he was walking down the street right now he would be at risk," O'Mara said. "I'm hoping we can keep him safe."

The charges are certain to provoke controversy in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, and across the country.

The special prosecutor's ruling came one day after Zimmerman's original legal team quit because they had lost contact with him, and suggested that the pressure of the case had "pushed him over the edge."

Earlier this week, Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett said his city has become a "kindling box" due to the high emotions surrounding the case, and that he would "plan for the worst and hope for the best."

The case gained national prominence with rallies across the country demanding that Zimmerman be arrested and charged with murder. Zimmerman and his supporters say that the shooting had nothing to do with race and that he shot Martin in self-defense.

The U.S. Justice Department is also carrying out an investigation into the shooting.

Attorney General Eric Holder indicated Wednesday that the feds will have a higher bar to establish that the shooting was a hate crime.

"For a federal hate crime we have to prove the highest standard in the law it is something that was reckless, that was negligent ... We have to show that there was a specific intent to do the crime with the requisite state of mind," Holder said.

Corey declined to say where Zimmerman is being held out of concern for his safety.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr112012

Prosecutor Plans Announcement as George Zimmerman's Legal Team Quits

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- A special prosecutor promised "new information regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting death investigation" within 72 hours, prompting speculation that the alleged shooter, George Zimmerman, could be charged soon.

The announcement that the prosecutor, State Attorney Angela Corey, would soon hold a news conference came just hours after Zimmerman's lawyers said they would no longer represent him.

Corey said Monday that she will not present the case to a grand jury; she retains the power to decide herself whether to press charges against Zimmerman in the shooting.

Zimmerman's lawyers Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said Tuesday they were withdrawing from the case because they had lost contact with Zimmerman, who is refusing to answer their calls, texts and emails.

"We're not taking the position that we're leaving him," said one of the lawyers at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "Communication can't be one way....I can't hold myself out as the attorney of record at this point. It wouldn't be ethical for me....That's why I'm stepping back."

Zimmerman, 28, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, shot and killed Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, Feb. 26, after following him for several minutes.

The lawyers said they had not spoken to Zimmerman since Sunday, after they set up a website with his father for his legal defense. The following day, Zimmerman announced a separate website that surprised the lawyers.

Sonner said there were "lots of things going on that I don't know about," including Zimmerman reportedly speaking to Fox TV's Sean Hannity off the record and calling Corey.

"We were a bit astonished," Uhrig said referring to Zimmerman's call to the special prosecutor. He said the prosecutor's office declined to speak to Zimmerman without his lawyers, but Zimmerman replied that they were merely his legal advisers, Uhrig said.

The two lawyers said they were concerned about Zimmerman, whom they described as isolated.

"He can't go out to a 7-Eleven to buy a Diet Coke. There's a bounty out there," Uhrig said.

The lawyer suggested that Zimmerman was probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Perhaps the pressure has pushed him over the edge," Uhrig said. The attorney suggested Zimmerman may not be handling the pressure and has lost weight.

He also said that Zimmerman was not in Florida, saying, "You can stop looking for him in Florida. Look much further than that."

They also admitted that they had yet to meet Zimmerman in person.

"He is in hiding and it was better for him to stay in hiding...There were death threats," Uhrig said.

Both lawyers said they still stood by their belief that Zimmerman had shot Martin in self-defense.

"We frankly believe that the correct decision would be not to charge him," Sonner said. "We hope for the best for George Zimmerman."

The case has become an emotional focal point with heated rhetoric from both sides, prompting Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett Tuesday to describe the town as a "kindling box."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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