Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey gave a press conference this afternoon explaining the decision to charge Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder. I'm relieved for the family of Martin that we finally got this first step in the process after the governor and prosecutor decided to take another look at the case. Let's hope it's also a first step toward seeing these so-called "stand your ground" laws repealed so another family doesn't have to experience anything like this again.
More of Corey's presser below the fold. Here's more from TPM on the charges and new developments in the case.
A special prosecutor in Florida on Wednesday charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder for the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in a case that has stoked racial tensions and drawn calls for justice from seemingly every corner of the nation.
At a news conference in Florida, prosecutor Angela Corey said Zimmerman was in custody, though she declined to say where. She said the decisions to charge Zimmerman and which specific charge to bring were not easy.
“It is the search for justice for Trayvon that brought us here to this moment,” Corey said. “I can tell you that we did not come to this decision lightly.”
After the announcement was made, Martin’s parents gave an emotional news conference, saying they were thankful for the arrest. Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, and mother, Sabrina Fulton, said they were grateful to see justice starting to move forward.
“We wanted nothing more, nothing less,” Fulton said. “We just wanted an arrest and we got it. And I say thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus.” [...]
Second-degree murder is the toughest charge that Corey could have filed in the case, according to University of Florida law professor Michael Seigel.
Florida’s laws would have required Corey to take the case to a grand jury if she wanted to charge Zimmerman with the tougher charge of first-degree murder. To prove that charge, however, she would have had to show that Zimmerman planned in advance to kill Martin.
“This would be a nearly impossible first-degree murder case because that would have to have premeditation,” Seigel said.
Corey announced earlier this week that she was not taking the case to a grand jury.
Second-degree murder is a higher level of crime than manslaughter, the charge that many speculated Zimmerman would face.
The murder charge, Seigel said, means that the prosecutor believes the killing was carried out without the heat of passion but still may not have been planned in advance.
If Zimmerman is found guilty, he could face life in prison, Seigel said.
And here's more from Think Progress on whether Sean Hannity “may very well have opened himself up to subpoena" -- EXPERTS: Hannity Could Be Required To Testify About His Conversation With George Zimmerman.