First-degree murder charge in Trayvon Martin case is out


George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, will not be charged with first-degree murder.

Angela Corey, the special prosecutor who’s deciding whether to file charges, announced today that she’s not going to take the case to a grand jury, a step that is required in a first-degree murder case.

Martin was killed Feb. 26 during a confrontation with Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford, Florida.  Zimmerman has claimed self-defense.

Corey could still charge Zimmerman with a serious felony such as manslaughter, which can carry a lengthy prison sentence.

Is Corey’s decision good or bad news for those who want to see Zimmerman arrested?  All sides appear to be cautiously hopeful.

“We are not surprised by this announcement and, in fact, are hopeful that a decision will be reached very soon to arrest George Zimmerman,” Benjamin Crump, a Martin family attorney, said in a statement. 

Civil rights leader (and msnbc host) Rev. Al Sharpton also issued a statement saying the decision “vindicates the position that we have taken all along - that is you do not need a grand jury to make an arrest of George Zimmerman on probable cause.”   

“Courageous move on her part,” Hal Uhrig, one of the lawyers representing the Zimmerman family, told CNN. Uhrig also said was not surprised by Corey’s decision. 

An Orlando criminal defense attorney tells The Associated Press the decision means Corey won’t have to rely on potentially-unpredictable jurors.  David Hill says Corey may know that there isn’t enough for a first-degree murder charge, but she wants to charge him with something else – and she now can”maintain control” of that process.

Ed will have the latest developments on the Trayvon Martin case tonight on The Ed Show at 8pET on msnbc with Martin family attorney Daryl Parks.

First-degree murder charge in Trayvon Martin case is out