Lawyers acting for George Zimmerman, who shot dead the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin on a Florida housing estate, have abandoned their attempt to have his murder charge thrown out on the grounds of self-defence.
Neighbourhood watch leader Zimmerman, 29, had been expected to claim immunity from prosecution at a hearing in April under the state’s stand-your-ground law, which allows for the use of deadly force when a person feels their life is in danger.
But in a surprise move, his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, told a judge that the defence would take its chances at Zimmerman’s trial in June for second-degree murder. He said he still intended to pursue the argument that his client was acting in self-defence in February 2012 under a violent onslaught from 17-year-old Martin.
To be clear, Zimmerman is maintaining his innocence, saying that the death of Trayvon Martin was an act of self-defense; however, he will now face a jury trial instead of potentially being granted immunity by Judge Debra Nelson. George Zimmerman’s trial is scheduled to begin on June 10, 2013.