ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There’s still no word on whether George Zimmerman will be charged in the death ofTrayvon Martin — but if he is, the charge won’t be first-degree murder.
The special prosecutor who’s deciding whether to file charges announced today that she’s not going to take the case to a grand jury. That’s a step that would only be required in a first-degree murder case.
Angela Corey could still charge Zimmerman with a serious felony such as manslaughter, which can carry a lengthy prison sentence.
One Florida defense attorney says the decision not to go to a grand jury means Corey won’t have to rely on potentially-unpredictable jurors. David Hill says Corey may know that there isn’t enough for a first-degree murder charge, but she wants to charge him with something else — and she now can “maintain control” of that process.
Corey took over the case last month after the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford recused himself.
The death of the unarmed black teen at the hands of the neighborhood watch volunteer has led to protests across the nation. One of those protests today prompted the temporary closing of the Sanford Police Department offices to the public, as about a half-dozen student activists blocked the entrance.