SANFORD, Fla. — George Zimmerman, the man now charged with 2nd Degree Murder for the death of Trayvon Martin, appeared in court for the first time on Thursday.
Martin, 17, a high school junior, was unarmed and wearing a hoodie when Zimmerman shot him while serving as neighborhood watch captain.
According to CNN an affidavit of probable cause in Florida’s case against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old says that the neighborhood watch volunteer “profiled” the victim and disregarded a police dispatcher’s request that he await the arrival of police.
Zimmerman, 28, claims Martin attacked him and he shot him in self-defense.
On Thursday, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, explained to reporters the reason he took Zimmerman’s case.
“Why did I? He really needs a good defense. It’s a very…it’s a difficult case, it really is. From a lot of different perspectives, not just the publicity. But the fact itself. The statute itself. So that’s what I do. You handled the cases, the unfavored causes, and it lets the rest of us enjoy the freedoms that we have. That’s what I try and do,” O’Mara said.
O’Mara said he’s worried about Zimmerman’s ability to get a fair trial. Many attorneys in the Kansas City area have been following the developments in the Zimmerman-Martin case closely and think this is a legitimate concern.
Attorney Pat Peters believes moving the trial out of Seminole Co., Florida, or even out of the state of Florida wouldn’t make a big difference because the case has received overwhelming national attention.
“Your jury pool is legitimately contaminated,” Peters said, and others agree.
“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find potential jurors who hadn’t heard about it,” said attorney Tony Miller. “I don’t think that’s the question but you have to find people who are willing to hear the evidence who haven’t made their mind up.”
Peters adds that the jury will be under a great deal of pressure.
“A fear on the part of the jury is, ‘If we don’t convict, there would be repercussions,'” Peters said.
Zimmerman’s attorneys have already said they’ll use Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law to defend him. According to Miller, that means Zimmerman will likely take the stand in his own defense because the entire legal argument will revolve around his state of mind at the time.
Prosecutors will try to prove that Zimmerman was the aggressive one.
“If Mr. Zimmerman was an aggressor, you can’t be an aggressor and then claim self-defense,” Miller said.
But Peters says it could be hard for prosecutors to prove.
“In our daily lives, what we see is, it starts out with words exchanged, a shove, a threat of a shove, ” Peters described. “It escalates to where… Which one is the actual aggressor?”
If convicted, Zimmerman faces up to life in prison for the February 26th death of Martin.