The question is whether she can convict Zimmerman given that he appears to have a credible claim of self defense. Zimmerman says Trayvon, a 6-foot-3-inch tall football player, was trying to kill him when he, Zimmerman, shot the 17-year-old dead on Feb. 26
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman surrendered to authorities about two hours after Corey announced the charges. In Florida, the Sentinel noted, second-degree murder is a first-degree felony that can end with a term of life in prison.
The New York Times noted that the minimum sentence Zimmerman would receive, if convicted, is 25 years.
Corey opened her press conference with this:
It was less than three weeks ago that we told those sweet parents that we would get answers to all of their questions no matter where our quest for the truth led us. And it is the search for justice for Trayvon that has brought us to this moment.
Apparently, Corey’s investigators have found something to contradict Zimmerman’s account of Feb. 26, when he spotted Trayvon and thought he looked suspicious. Zimmerman maintains that Trayvon attacked him and threatened to kill him, a statement that has not been refuted with other evidence.
The Times reported that the severity of Corey’s charge might mean she seeks a plea from Zimmerman to a lesser charge.
According to the Times, “Under second-degree murder, the jury must find that a death was caused by a criminal act ‘demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life,’ said Eric Abrahamsen, a criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee, reading from the state’s standard jury instructions. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison; the minimum penalty under these charges is 25 years.”
Dan Markel, a law professor at Florida State University, said he was “very surprised” by the severity of the charges “in light of the evidence that seems to have been brought to the attention of the public so far.” Many legal experts had predicted that Mr. Zimmerman would be charged with manslaughter.
Another lawyer told the Times, “the prosecutor might have ‘overcharged’ to retain the option, should she feel a murder conviction is slipping away, of asking the judge to instruct the jury to consider lesser offenses, like manslaughter.”
It is also possible, he said, that she might be trying to coax Mr. Zimmerman to the negotiating table to plead guilty to such a lesser charge. But, he added, it is impossible to say whether it is overly tough, since evidence has not yet been produced.
In Mr. Zimmerman’s favor will be a pretrial hearing, the Times reported, during which a judge will determine whether Mr. Zimmerman acted appropriately under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which protects defendants who kill in self defense.
Reported the Times, “if the judge finds that Mr. Zimmerman acted appropriately, the case will end there. If the judge decides that the protections of the law do not apply, the case will go forward.”
The Washington Post reported that “[c]riminal justice lawyers said Corey faces an uphill battle in persuading a jury to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder. Zimmerman told police he was fighting for his life in an altercation with Martin, who was 17 and unarmed, before he shot in self-defense.”
Others Who Have Not Been Charged
Now that Zimmerman is in custody, some wonder if and when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is passionate about racial justice and honesty about racial issues, will charge the fanatical black militants who have threatened Zimmerman’s life.
As The New American reported on Wednesday, a member of Zimmerman’s family wrote to Holder asking when he would charge members of the the New Black Panther Party with crimes for posting a $10,000 reward for Zimmerman’s “capture” and publishing a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster bearing Zimmerman’s picture.
According to The Daily Caller, which broke the story, the letter writer explained that the “Zimmerman family is in hiding because of the threats that have been made against us, yet the DOJ has maintained an eerie silence on this matter.”
These threats are very public. If you haven’t been paying attention just do a Google search and you will find plenty. Since when can a group of people in the United States put a bounty on someone’s head, circulate Wanted posters publicly, and still be walking the streets?
The family member, whom The DC did not identify because of danger to his life, also suggested Holder whether he was given to racial bias. “I would surmise that, based on your own definition of a hate crime, you have chosen not to arrest these individuals based solely on your race,” the letter writer said.
The DC reported that the letter writer urged Holder to follow the example of fictive Atticus Finch, Harper Lee’s white lawyer in “To Kill A Mockingbird” who defends a black man falsely accused of rape.
“Strangely enough this case has a lot of parallels to those of Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ” the letter to Attorney General Holder read. “George Zimmerman has been treated much like Tom Robinson was, chastised for not being the right (or wrong) color and found guilty based on race factors.
“You have the opportunity to act as Atticus [Finch] and do the right thing. Your boss would refer to this as a ‘teachable moment.’”
The cards have been stacked against Zimmerman from the beginning, as the media and its leftist allies have done everything they can to paint Zimmerman as a white racist fanatic looking to shoot a black “child” in cold blood. In fact, Zimmerman is a white Hispanic Democrat and strong friend of Sanford’s black community, not only tutoring black children but also leading the protest against the son of a white police officer who beat up a black homeless man.
NBC was a major player in that effort, having doctored an audio recording of Zimmerman’s call to police to make it appear as if Zimmerman was hunting down Martin because he was black. NBC apologized and fired the producer who edited the recording. The New York Times also used an edited version of the tape that made Zimmerman look bad.
Beyond that, members of Congress and other public officials have said things about Zimmerman that have inflamed the public.
President Obama also chimed in, saying that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Such was the hatred that second-rate movie director Spike Lee tweeted an address he thought was Zimmerman’s, only to learn that he tweeted the address of an elderly couple who were forced into hiding.
But the worst rhetoric came from the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). According to the Orlando Sentinel, an NBPP leader at an anti-Zimmerman protest said the group wants “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” and warned that “[i]f the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it.
”The recently released recording of a conference call between NBPP members contains a frightening diatribe calling for violence against white and racial war. Said one NBPP member, “If you are having any doubts about getting suited, booted, and armed up for this race war that we in, that has never ended, let me tell you something, the things that’s about to happen to these honkies, these crackers, these [police] pigs, these pink people, these ***** ****** purple people, it has been long overdue.”
Said another, “We gotta suit up and boot up, and get prepared for the war that we’re in. This stuff got to boil over, and all your greats talked about there having to be bloodshed involved with revolution — true revolution means some bloodshed.... We gotta go through it.”
An “Kill Zimmerman” Twitter account surfaced on March 24. Whoever created the account urged readers to kill the Hispanic man to exact revenge for his shooting Martin.
Photo: In this, April 11, 2012 photo provided by the Sanford Police Department, George Zimmerman is shown in a booking photo: AP Images