“It is devastating for my family to hear the comments from juror B29, comments which we already knew in our hearts to be turn. That George Zimmerman literally go away with murder. This new information challenges our nation once again to do everything we can to make sure that this never happens to another child. That’s why Tracy and I have launched the Trayvon Martin Foundation to try and take something very painful and negative and turn it into something positive as a legacy to our son.” — Sybrina Fulton
George Zimmerman is charged with 2nd-degree murder. In Florida, that’s described as “the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony in the first degree … ”
So what does that mean for the prosecution? It means they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trayvon Martin is dead and that Zimmerman’s act caused Martin’s death, but also that Zimmerman’s act was one “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrated a depraved mind without regard for human life.”
That “imminently dangerous act” is described as, among other things, one that is done from “ill will, hatred, spite, or evil intent.”
Has the prosecution met its burden based on Florida law?
In 2007, a man shot another in the back of the head as he retreated. The shooter claimed self-defense, and he was acquitted by a jury.
In 2008, a man fired 15 shots at a his ex-wife’s boyfriend who was sitting in a car, killing him. The shooter wasn’t prosecuted based on the “stand your ground” law.
In 2010, a man shot another man who was laying on the ground. He was granted immunity based on “stand your ground.”
In 2011, a man shot and killed two unarmed men. His case was dismissed based on “stand your ground.”
As we watch and wait of the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial, it’s worth noting other cases in Florida where people used the “stand your ground” law. Take a look at this database compiled by the Tampa Bay Times. It highlights hundreds of “stand your ground” cases.
Also, do you know if you live in a state that has a “stand your ground” law similar to the one in Florida? Check the list.
And, here’s the actual text of the Florida statute on justifiable use of deadly force. In particular, look at paragraph 3.