(SANFORD, Fla.) — The lead prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case tells ABC News that convicting his alleged killer, the neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, could prove difficult.
“The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is one portion of justifiable use of deadly force,” veteran State Attorney Angela Corey said. “And what that means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt… So it makes the case in general more difficult than a normal criminal case.”
Zimmerman allegedly shot and killed Martin on the night of Feb. 26, after following him for several minutes. Zimmerman told police Martin looked suspicious because he was wearing a hoodie, and when he confronted him, the two fought — ultimately resulting in a single bullet to Martin’s chest.
Zimmerman claimed self defense all along, and this weekend the lawyer counseling him, Craig Sonner, told ABC News that he was likely to invoke Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in his defense.
The law allows people to use deadly force if they feel their life is seriously endangered. Sonner said Zimmerman felt “one of them was going to die that night,” when he pulled the trigger.
Corey, a veteran prosecutor known for her zealous defense of victims’ rights, was hand-picked by Florida Gov. Rick Scott for the job. But she faces other challenges in the case.
While Martin was barely 17 years old, when it comes to justifiable homicide, his size — about 6-foot-3 and 150 pounds — makes him an adult in death.
But with the Department of Justice and the FBI investigating this case as a possible hate crime, Corey might want to pursue that as well.
“So it would depend on which charge if any we’re able to file,” she said. “Before we would be able to determine, one, if this is a hate crime, and two, whether or not that would enhance the crime.”
Corey’s team is again looking into accusations that the Sanford Police Department bungled its investigation. Possible police missteps include failing to administer a toxicology exam on Zimmerman, not impounding his car and failing to contact key witnesses — like Martin’s girlfriend, who was talking to the teen by cellphone and heard most of the scuffle with Zimmerman unfold.
ABC News has learned there is tremendous pressure from local and state authorities for an arrest.
Corey said parts of the investigation might only take a few more days to complete but charges, if they ever come, could be weeks away.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Recent posts in National News