A Florida judge has set a tentative date for next June for the trial of George Zimmerman, the onetime neighborhood watch volunteer who has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Judge Debra S. Nelson set the date for June 10 but added that the timetable could change depending on a number of factors.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s lawyers tweeted after the hearing that they will likely ask for a “stand your ground” hearing in April or May. Zimmerman said the shooting of the unarmed teenager was in self-defense and that he plans to invoke Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, which allows a person to use deadly force if he or she perceives imminent danger.
Under Florida law, Zimmerman can request the hearing and argue his self-defense case in advance of the trial. If Zimmerman is successful in convincing the judge that he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense, the murder charges would be dropped, eliminating the need for a trial.
Zimmerman shot the 17-year-old Black high school student in February in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Martin was carrying a bag of candy and a can of iced tea. Zimmerman claims that, after he followed the teenager, Martin assaulted him and a fight ensued.
Martin’s parents and their lawyer have contended that the teenager was racially profiled by Zimmerman, who is of white and Hispanic parentage.
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(Photo: Gary Green/The Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images)