Zimmerman drops “stand your ground” plea in Trayvon Martin shooting
The lawyers of neighbourhood watch leader George Zimmerman have relinquished their attempts to have his murder charge dismissed using the “stand your ground” plea.
Mr. Zimmerman had been expected to use this plea to avoid prosecution for the shooting of unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
The “stand your ground” law states that an individual is excused for using lethal force when they feel their life may be in danger.
He will instead stand trial for second degree murder, which puts him at risk of receiving a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’ Mara, intends to argue his client acted in self- defence after a violent attack from Martin in which he allegedly pinned Zimmerman to the ground and broke his nose.
Zimmerman had phoned police to inform them he was following a “suspicious” male before the incident occurred.
O’ Mara has said focus will be on preparing for a jury trial, showing confidence as he claimed “that’s going to be a jury trial where he gets acquitted”. He stated “George wants to have a jury of his peers decide the case”.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said he was “bewildered” by the change in the defence. The prosecution will argue that Zimmerman both pursued and antagonised Martin before intentionally shooting him.
The trial is scheduled to begin in June. O’Mara has reserved the right to seek a new “stand your ground” hearing if necessary.