Zimmerman's First Hearing Raises Questions About "Stand Your Ground" Law
Following weeks of national protests urging authorities to arrest and prosecute George Zimmerman, prosecutors charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder on Wednesday. He appeared in court yesterday for a four-minute pretrial hearing that did not set bail. Zimmerman did not enter his plea during the hearing, but his attorney Mark O’Mara has said that his client would plead not guilty.
The affidavit statement of facts presented in yesterday’s hearing conflicts with Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon Martin attacked him as he was returning to his vehicle. It states:
Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.
Martin was on the phone with a friend and described to her what was happening. The witness advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn’t know why. Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.
Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.
Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.
Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin.
The four-minute hearing began what might be a drawn-out legal battle for justice or a disappointingly short trial constricted by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Legal experts have warned that if Zimmerman’s lawyers present enough evidence that he acted in self-defense, prosecutors may drop his second-degree murder charge.
The case has drawn much attention to the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, and may have prompted several corporations to withdraw their support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), though none referenced the case explicitly in press releases announcing their departure.
Zimmerman will be held in jail until his bail hearing on April 20, and will be tried in court on May 29.George Zimmerman Affidavit