A new breakthrough in the Trayvon Martin case could be a positive indication that George Zimmerman won’t get off for killing the teen boy as many suspect. As you know, the FBI has been conducting their own investigation into the shooting death that occurred Feb. 26, and ABC reports that the bureau plans to pursue a hate crime charge against the neighborhood watchman.
Zimmerman has already been charged with second-degree murder which could garner a maximum sentence up to life in prison if he’s convicted. With the hate crime charge, his sentence could be escalated to the death penalty. That is, if the prosecution can prove he intentionally went after Trayvon and shot and killed him because he is black.
Calls to 911 and the last conversation Trayvon had before being killed have already proven to much of America that Trayvon was followed and gunned down out of racial prejudice, but Zimmerman stands by his story that he shot the teen in self defense, after he punched, kicked, and knocked him to the ground. According to the Orlando Sentinel, there is a wealth of new evidence in the case against Zimmerman, including a data download with more than 60 CDs, Zimmerman’s phone records, and dozens of witness statements and interviews, 18 of which are from Sanford Police officers. There is also video from the 7-eleven store where Trayvon reportedly purchased Skittles and Arizona iced tea and from a clubhouse in retreat at Twin Lakes, the townhouse complex where the teen was killed.
To combat the hate crime charge, we can expect Zimmerman’s defense to harp on a photograph that recently surfaced which is reportedly Zimmerman’s mother in the arms of her grandfather, who is black. His mother also testified at a bond hearing that Zimmerman once risked his own personal safety to mentor a black child in a dangerous neighborhood because he didn’t want to abandon him. Essentially, it’s the “but I have a black friend” defense.
Do you think the FBI will successfully charge Zimmerman with a hate crime?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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