George Zimmerman, the man who allegedly shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense last year, has decided to forgo a “Stand Your Ground” immunity hearing before going to trial.
Florida has a “Stand Your Ground” law for protection during self-defense encounters. The law states that excessive, and even deadly, force can be used in certain situations when an individual, or an individual’s home or car, is threatened by a perpetrator. Under the law, individuals can seek immunity from criminal prosecution if they believe their incident occurred under the law’s circumstances.
Zimmerman claims that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Martin in February 2012. Martin, a young black male, was walking in a gated community when Zimmerman allegedly stopped him for “suspicious behavior.” Zimmerman placed a 911 call to report the suspicious activity, but after the call, confronted Martin. During the confrontation, Zimmerman says Martin attacked him and he had no choice but to shoot him in the chest.
Despite Zimmerman’s story, he has decided to forgo the immunity hearing, which would only be in front of a judge rather than a jury.
"We'd much rather have the jury address the issue of criminal liability or lack thereof," Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O'Mara said.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to his second-degree murder charge, and the trial for which will begin in June.