George Zimmerman, the man charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, made his first appearance in court on Thursday.
The judge found probable cause to move forward, and said there would be an arraignment May 29, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Zimmerman’s new lawyer, Mark O’Mara, is expected to use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law to get the murder charge dismissed without going to trial. Angela B. Corey, the state attorney who was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case, announced second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman Wednesday. Zimmerman, 28, faces life in prison if convicted.
There are conflicting stories on who started the confrontation. The Miami Herald says the prosecution will have a hard time proving that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved mind” when he shot Martin — the standard used in second-degree murder cases.
“Miami defense attorney John Priovolos said Corey will be hard pressed to show Zimmerman had the “ill-will, spite, malice or hatred” constituting a “depraved mind.”
Savannah Guthrie of NBC said on an MSNBC report, “Some of the witnesses' accounts are conflicting. and where there is ambiguity, our legal system sets it up so the benefit of the doubt goes to the accused.”
A second-degree murder conviction can carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison, while a lesser charge like manslaughter has no minimum sentence. The "Stand Your Ground" law says a person may not be prosecuted for using deadly force if the person “reasonably believes” they are in life-threatening danger.