MIAMI (CBSMiami) – George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Additionally, Zimmerman has been taken into custody, but it hasn’t been revealed where he is being held.
“You cannot know what it’s like to launch this type of investigation and come to this conclusion,” State Attorney Angela Corey said during the press conference.
That press conference can be viewed LIVE starting at 6 p.m. byclicking here.
Under Florida law, second degree murder is the unlawful killing of a person when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual. The maximum sentence for the crime is life in prison.
Governor Rick Scott asked for calm before and after Corey’s announcement Wednesday.
“We are fortunate in our state that most Floridians and local civic leaders are law-abiding, responsible citizens who all want justice to prevail,” Scott said in a statement. “No matter what State Attorney Corey determines following her investigation of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I trust in the goodness of all Florida citizens to allow our justice system to reach an appropriate conclusion in this case.”
Zimmerman has reportedly hired Mark O’Mara, a well-known Orlando attorney for his defense, according to multiple media reports. O’Mara had served as legal analyst for Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG.
Martin family attorney Ben Crump held a press conference in Washington Wednesday and said, “from day 1 there was enough evidence to arrest George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin.
“We’re not talking about a conviction. We’re not talking about a conviction. He’ll have his day in court,” Crump said. “All we are asking for is an arrest. So that we know the wheels of justice will start to turn.”
Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton released a comment on Twitter that read:
“We’re on pins & needles waiting for Ms. Corey’s decision, but we’re prayerful that justice will prevail. He sits high & looks low. #GODisincontrol.”
The case started on February 26th when Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman claimed that he acted in self-defense out of fear for his life. Zimmerman made the claim under Florida’s “StandYour Ground” law.
The law states that an individual may use deadly force if they feel their life, or the lives of their loved one, are threatened or in danger.
The exact events that led up to the shooting have been in question since the night of the shooting. Emergency calls made to Sanford Police on the night of the shooting showed that Zimmerman was told by 911 operators not to engage or follow Zimmerman.
“This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher.
Just after Zimmerman’s first call, 911 dispatchers were inundated with calls about a scuffle between two men, some screaming, and then a gunshot.
“There is somebody screaming outside,” one female caller said. An unknown male voice can be heard crying in the background before a shot is heard.
“I just heard a shot right behind my house,” a male caller said. “They’re wrestling right behind my porch. The guy is yelling, “Help!” I’m not going outside.”
The outcry for justice for Martin and an arrest of Zimmerman started shortly after some of the details about the shooting began to surface. Multiple rallies were held around the state in the next few weeks drawing tens of thousands of protesters.
Students in Miami-Dade County and across South Florida walked out of their schools on March 23rd to protest the lack of an arrest in the shooting death of Martin. A total of 15 high schools in Miami-Dade County walked out on that day. The student protests all remained peaceful.