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U.S. shooter in Trayvon Martin case charged

(Xinhua)

09:22, April 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 11 (Xinhua) -- A Florida prosecutor on Wednesday announced criminal charges against George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot black teenager Trayvon Martin in February.

At a nationally televised news conference in Jacksonville, Florida, special prosecutor Angela Corey announced Zimmerman was charged with murder in the second degree. In Florida, a charge of second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Corey said Zimmerman has turned himself in and is in custody of the authorities. She said the prosecution did not come to the decision lightly, and they will prosecute based on facts and law, not public pressure or petition.

Corey declined to say where exactly Zimmerman is being held, citing concerns for his safety. She said Zimmerman is being held without opportunity for bail, but his lawyers are entitled to request a bond. Once they do so, a bond hearing will be held.

At a news conference in Washington, D.C., Martin's parents appeared with the Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton said people shouldn't be celebrating Zimmerman's charge, as "there's no winners here."

"This is not about gloating. This is about pursuing justice. We have not won anything. All we have established is we have the right to redress," Sharpton said.

Sharpton said he believed Corey didn't file the charges in response to public pressure, but he believes public pressure caused Florida Governor Rick Scott and Corey to review the case.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said that he expects to file a motion seeking bond for Zimmerman on Thursday. He said Zimmerman is "doing OK."

Martin, a 17-year-old high school student, was fatally shot while walking to the house of his father's fiancee in a gated community in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26. Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot the teen in self- defense. The incident gained national attention and many, including the Martin family, believe that race was a factor.

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