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The Treyvon Martin Case: Alleged Shooter George Zimmerman Charged With 2nd Degree Murder [Video]

George Zimmerman (photo courtesy Seminole County jail/NBC News/Rock Center)

The neighborhood watch case that polarized the country has moved in a different direction now.  George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing teenager Treyvon Martin was arrested and charged with second degree murder last night.

Read the formal criminal charge document


Martin, 17, was shot February 26, while walking in a Sanford, Florida, gated community.  Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer, allegedly followed Martin for several minutes, because he suspected the boy might be up to something.  He said one of the reasons he followed Martin was that the teen was wearing a hoodie  (that started a nationwide movement of people wearing hoodies to show support for the slain teen)

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Although the details of exactly what happened that night still aren’t clear, Zimmerman’s account is that he started following Martin as he walked from a convenience store through the gated community.  Zimmerman called police, telling them the boy looked like he, “was up to no good…on drugs or something”.

When police arrived, Martin was dead.  Zimmerman told them Martin attacked him as he walked back to his truck, breaking his nose and beating him to the ground, which forced him to shoot the boy.  Zimmerman’s gun was concealed and it was later learned Martin was unarmed.

But Martin’s friends say he would not have attacked Zimmerman unless he was provoked first.  And there are reports Martin’s girlfriend was talking to Treyvon on his cell phone when Zimmerman confronted the teen.  Her account is that Martin was distressed that Zimmerman was following him and that Martin did nothing to provoke Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is being held in an Orlando County jail in Florida.  His attorney says he will plead not guilty to the charges and he will ask for his client to be released on bond.  A hearing is scheduled for this afternoon at 1:30 pm eastern.

The charge of second degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The U.S. Justice Department is has opened a federal civil-rights investigation into the shooting of Treyvon Martin.

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