Trayvon Martin’s killer now faces second-degree murder charges, 45 days after the fact.
At a press conference, special prosecutor Angela Corey announced George Zimmerman has been charged in the killing of the unarmed African American teenager.
“I can tell you we did not come to this decision lightly,” Corey told reporters in Jacksonville. “Let me emphasize that we do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We prosecute based on the facts of any given case as well as the laws of the state of Florida.” Growing outrage and protests swept the nation, calling for an arrest in the case.
She said the 28-year-old turned himself in and is now in police custody in Florida. Corey refused to elaborate on details of the arrest and specific evidence in the case.
Zimmerman is expected to appear in front of a court within the next 24 hours.
On February 26, the self-appointed neighborhood watchman, shot and killed the 17-year-old in a Sanford, Florida gated community. In Zimmerman’s version of events, he said he acted in self-defense during the confrontation.
The local police department has been widely criticized for its handling the investigation and lost a police chief over it. Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed the special prosecutor to investigate the racially charged case.
If convicted, Zimmerman could get maximum sentence of life in prison.