Zimmerman Trial starts today - Are you up to date?

The trial of George Zimmerman starts today. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, is charged with second-degree murder in a case that involves gun laws, race relations and questions self defense laws. The victim, the unarmed, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin.

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On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman reported to police a suspicious person in the neighborhood. Officials told him not to get out of his car or approach the person. Minutes later, gunfire rang out.

Martin was walking back from a nearby convenience store, headed to his father’s girlfriend’s home. He was carrying a small amount of cash, candy, a soft drink and a phone.

When police arrived, a bleeding Zimmerman told them he shot the teen, but said it was in self-defense. A fight had occurred and fearing for his life, he had fired.

In October 2005, the state of Florida passed the “stand your ground” law, which allows residents to meet “force with force” if they believe they or someone else is in danger of being seriously harmed by an assailant. But, last April, Zimmerman waived his right to a “stand your ground” pretrial immunity hearing.

A jury will have to decide if Zimmerman can still use self-defense as an excuse knowing he could have avoided the altercation by following police instructions and not approach Martin that night. Race will play a role as prosecutors believe the fact that Martin was African-American played a role in defining Martin as a “suspicious person.”

The case is already heated on both sides and as testimony is given by police and witnesses, this promises to be a gripping trial from the opening statements to jury verdict.

Photo Credit: ABC News

Born in La Mirada, California, Melissa M. Garcia has lived most of her life in the sometimes gritty, but always entertaining landscape that is Southern California. She graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in English/Literature. Garcia is the author of the Luc Actar crime series (including Falling Angels and Chasing Demons) and the Death Valley Mystery series (Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery). She has also published an e-book collection, Faith Departed: Short Stories of Mystery, Crime, and Despair.
www.melissamgarcia.com

twitter.com/MelissaM_Garcia

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