George Zimmerman, 29, was a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer at his Sanford gated community when he fatally shot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman is of white and Latino heritage -- his mother is Peruvian -- something friends and relatives have cited to rebut allegations that he racially profiled Martin, who was black.
Zimmerman had a legal permit to carry the gun he used on Martin, and he said he fired in self-defense after Martin attacked him and repeatedly pounded his head into the ground. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1-million bail. He faces 25 years to life if convicted.
Zimmerman's initial bail after his arrest in April 2012 was $150,000. It was raised after prosecutors accused Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, of lying about how much money they had to win a low bail. A judge agreed, accused Zimmerman of planning to use hidden funds to flee, and increased the bail in July. Shellie Zimmerman was charged with perjury stemming from the bail issue. The Zimmermans left the housing complex where the shooting occurred and are living in a secret location arranged by the defense team.
(Pool / Getty Images /June 24, 2013)
The jurors in George Zimmerman's trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin claim they followed the rule of law in their acquittal. Let's set aside for the moment the flagrant abuses allowed under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and focus instead on the rule of common sense. There is such a rule: evidence stating what a reasonable person considers as truth.
Mr. Zimmerman's acquittal turned on the claim of self-defense, imminent bodily harm and a fear for his life. When you consider an unarmed teenager being stalked by an individual appearing out of the darkness, who had a better reason to fear bodily harm? Mr. Martin clearly feared for his safety, if not for his life, when he asked, "Why are you following me?"
Mr. Zimmerman had no such fear and apparently was only too eager to confront someone he perceived as a criminal. The evidence indicated that Mr. Zimmermans's wounds were superficial and hardly life-threatening. And statements that Mr. Martin reached for Mr. Zimmerman's gun were physically impossible and obviously contrived.
Justice falls victim when common sense is ignored.
Jerome Shapiro, Pikesville
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