Now that the legal aspect of the Trayvon Martin story has entered a new phase, statements made by the people directly involved carry a new resonance. After the special prosecutor announced the murder charges against their son's killer yesterday, the parents of Trayvon Martin spoke up, saying that the reason they were so vocal is because they merely sought an arrest, not a conviction (through the media, or otherwise).
His mother, Sybrina Fulton, also said this about George Zimmerman in an interview with the Associated Press:
"I would probably give him an opportunity to apologize ... I would probably ask him if there were another way that he could have settled the confrontation that he had with Trayvon, other than the way it ended, with Trayvon being shot."
In another interview this morning on the "Today" show, she expanded upon that comment in a way that is raising some eyebrows:
“I believe it was an accident,’’ Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told TODAY on Thursday. “I believe that it just got out of control and (Zimmerman) couldn’t turn the clock back. I would ask him, did he know that that was a minor, that that was a teenager, and that he did not have a weapon?
I'm no attorney, so my initial reaction was that this can't be good for a prosecution's case. Noted lawyer and writer Carolyn Edgar was one of many in the field I've either read or spoken to since the interview who thinks this isn't such a big deal:
I'd love to hear from more in the legal community, particularly if you're in Florida. The thread is yours.
Update: Trayvon's mother has clarified her comment with a forceful statement:
Earlier today, I made a comment to the media that was later mis-characterized. When I referenced the word 'accident' today with regard to Trayvon's death, in NO way did I mean the shooting was an accident.We believe that George Zimmerman stalked my son and murdered him in cold blood. The 'accident' I was referring to was the fact that George Zimmerman and my son ever crossed paths. It was an accidental encounter. If George Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his vehicle, this entire incident would have been avoided.My son was profiled, followed and murdered by George Zimmerman, and there was nothing accidental about that.
Update: Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, was asked about the comments during a press briefing moments ago. He responded, "We're not going to be talking about using words against the grieving mother of a dead child."