Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin
Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images.
George Zimmerman will look to have the second-degree murder charge he's facing dismissed before he even heads to trial, his attorneys announced Thursday.
Zimmerman's legal team says it has asked for a hearing to review the neighborhood watch volunteer's "stand your ground" defense, under which he claims to have legally shot and killed Trayvon Martin earlier this year in self-defense.
The Associated Press reports that, while such a hearing is likely months away, if Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester rules that Zimmerman acted according to the Florida law, he would be set free and the high-profile case would never make it to trial. Zimmerman also could not be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit or in any other civil action.
In his statement announcing the request for the pre-trial hearing, defense attorney Mark O’Mara argued that the evidence that has been released by the prosecution shows "clear support for a strong claim of self-defense." Zimmerman would likely testify at the hearing because he’s the only survivor from the confrontation.
The move by Zimmerman’s lawyers is not surprising. The 2005 law has been the centerpiece of the case since Martin’s death on February 26. Police didn’t immediately arrest Zimmerman for shooting the unarmed 17-year old because they said they found sufficient evidence supporting Zimmerman’s claim that he acted in self-defense. The neighborhood watchman, however, was arrested six weeks later, after the case had become front-page news around the country.