Before Trayvon Martin Murder Trial Comes "Stand Your Ground" Hearing

There is growing anticipation of an April 22 hearing where a judge will rule whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

Posted: 02/13/2013 05:32 PM EST
Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman

There is growing anticipation of a hearing in April that will determine whether George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, will be granted his wish to use Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law, effectively allowing him to avoid being charged for second-degree murder.

Under the controversial Florida law, a citizen is allowed to use deadly force if he or she feels the threat of imminent danger. Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager a year ago, is maintaining that he acted in self-defense under the Florida law.

“This hearing is really the big one,” said Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, speaking with BET.com.

“If the judge rules in Zimmerman’s favor and grants his motion, it means that the judge accepts the idea that Zimmerman thought he was in danger,” Crump said, adding that the hearing is set for April 22. “If that happens, then it’s all over from our point of view. But if the judge denies the motion, then the case proceeds to a trial.”

Abolishing the "Stand Your Ground" law has been a focus of the parents of Trayvon Martin through the foundation they established in their son’s honor called the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman's attorneys asked for a new piece of evidence, saying they wanted all the recordings of Trayvon Martin's voice in the possession of a young Miami woman who was on the phone with him just before he was killed.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara referred to the 18-year-old woman, identified as "witness 8," as the state's most important witness. She is known to authorities as having been on the phone with Trayvon several times the day he was shot. She reportedly heard the teenager say a strange man was following him and heard him say he was afraid and then heard them exchange a few words.

The anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death, which is Feb. 26, is being commemorated with a number of rallies and marches in various cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Atlanta, Crump said.

However, he said the family had not yet decided whether they would participate in any of the events. “It’s going to be a hard day for the family,” Crump said. “Sybrina Fulton has already said that she thinks it will be the hardest day of her life. After all, she lost her baby.”

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  (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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