TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A law enforcement official says that the killer in the Trayvon Martin case will be charged with second-degree murder and is in custody.
The official with knowledge of the case says that the charge against George Zimmerman will be announced at a news conference at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The official says he’s in custody in Florida but wouldn’t say where. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to disclose the information.
An arrest had been delayed because of Florida’s so-called stand your ground law, which gives people wide latitude to claim self-defense in a killing and other altercations.
The lack of an arrest had sparked outrage and rallies for justice in the Orlando suburb and across the country.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
After weeks of mounting tension and protests across the U.S., a special prosecutor has decided to bring charges against neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
The official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said prosecutor Angela Corey would announce the charges at a 6 p.m. news conference. The official said he did not know the charges. Corey confirmed only that she would make an announcement at that time.
The Martin family and their attorney, Ben Crump, renewed their pleas for calm as the hour approached.
“We don’t need anybody taking these matters into their own hands,” Crump said.
The law enforcement official said that authorities knew where Zimmerman was and were planning to arrest him soon rather than let him turn himself in. The official said he was not in Florida.
Zimmerman’s shooting of the unarmed black teenager Feb. 26 brought demands from black leaders for his arrest and set off a furious nationwide debate over race and self-defense that reached all the way to the White House.
The 28-year-old Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, said the teenager attacked him. Martin’s family argued Zimmerman was the aggressor.
On Tuesday, Zimmerman’s lawyers announced they were withdrawing from the case because they hadn’t heard from him since Sunday and didn’t know where he was. They portrayed his mental state as fragile.