(Updated) George Zimmerman in Custody, Will Be Charged With Second Degree Murder
[Editor's update, April 11: Angela B. Corey, special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, has announced that George Zimmerman is in custody and will be charged with second degree murder. She is not commenting on Zimmerman's location nor any other facts in the case. MSNBC reports that second degree murder is the highest possible charge that fits the facts known in this case. -- Julie]
The Trayvon Martin case has taken a turn for the stranger in the past 48 hours. Or rather, the case of gunman George Zimmerman, who in the past few days has reportedly set up a website asking for PayPal donations for his living and legal expenses, contacted Fox News pundit Sean Hannity for an "off the record" conversation, and stopped responding to his attorneys. Oh, and this afternoon his lawyers announced they are quitting.
Zimmerman's defense attorneys, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to explain that they are withdrawing from the case for all of the above reasons, plus the fact that Zimmerman contacted the special prosecutor's office without their knowledge, yet hasn't been in contact with his own attorneys since Sunday.
Zimmerman also responded to email from Loop21 reporter and Scripps journalism student Wesley Lowery in response to his conversation with Hannity.
What sparked this chain of unforeseen events? Most likely, special prosecutor Angela Corey’s decision on Monday to call off the grand jury inquiry into the February 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin -- a decision which some legal analysts say may indicate that that there’s enough evidence to press charges against Zimmerman without the decision of a grand jury. However, a death penalty case can’t be pursued in the state of Florida without a grand jury.
It looks to me that Zimmerman that with the possibility of an actual trial looming, Zimmerman has decided to become his own judge, jury and executioner. After all, in the court of public opinion, who needs a law degree?
Twitter lit up with commentary as the events unraveled:
Zimmerman is hiding now but he was very out in the open when he killed Trayvon.— Terry McMillan (@MsTerryMcMillan) April 10, 2012
Zimmerman's ex-attorney: People who were hunting for Zimmerman "can stop looking in Florida." #news— Michael King (@mhking) April 10, 2012
George zimmerman knew once it wasnt goin grand jury it was jail time...and even 1 year in prison for him..is a death sentence..so he bounced— Philly (in ATL) (@PhillyDaBoss323) April 10, 2012
All of these developments have fed speculation that Zimmerman is on the run -– perhaps to his mother’s home country of Peru. Zimmerman's former defense further fanned those flames during today's press conference by saying, "...you can stop looking in Florida. Look much further away than that."
Soooo... Zimmerman's lawyers have lost contact with him. Where's his mom from? Peru? Bet that's where he is.— سهر (@tartqueen) April 10, 2012
Even more concerning is speculation that Zimmerman could harm himself, setting himself up to become a martyr for people who allege that the Trayvon Martin case is just a lot of racial bellyaching and that George Zimmerman is the real victim in this whole incident. One of Zimmerman's family members sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (who is black) asking why he hasn't arrested members of the New Black Panthers for their alleged hate crime rhetoric.
"Violent Blacks and Evil Liberals are the ones who got George Zimmerman!"—Friends Of Zimmerman— Black Canseco (@BlackCanseco) April 10, 2012
This is one of those instances when I seriously hope the legal system will pull through to do the job of dispensing justice.