Zimmerman Is in Custody, Will Be Charged With Second Degree Murder

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced that the state would be charging George Zimmerman with second degree murder, while Al Sharpton, on behalf of Trayvon Martin's parents said at his own press conference, "This is not a night for celebration, this is a night that should never have happened in the first place." 

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Update 7p.m. EST: The Seminole County Court documents related to the case have been posted.

Update 6:45 p.m. EST: At a separate press conference held by the family of Trayvon Martin and the Reverend Al Sharpton, the family's spokesman, Benjamin Crump thanked supporters for their "unselfish acts," but made the unfortunate statement that "If we stand our ground, we can make a difference." Sharpton also said, "This is not a night for celebration, this is a night that should never have happened in the first place." Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton said, "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, justice will be served." She also thanked supporters, saying "Thank you from my heart to your heart."

Update 6:15 p.m. EST: Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced that the state would be charging George Zimmerman with second degree murder at the press conference. Trayvon Martin's family looked united as they watched the press conference on television in a photo posted by The Huffington Post's Trymaine Lee.

Speaking in lofty terms about the "search for justice," Corey wouldn't reveal any details about Zimmerman, notably his location which she did not disclose out of concern for the shooter's safety. Corey said, "So much information got released in this case that should have never got released." It seems the lid will be sealed from here on out. According to CNN, Zimmerman turned himself in to law enforcement officials earlier this afternoon.

Update 5:49 p.m. EST: George Zimmerman has found himself a new attorney in Mark M. O'Mara. Specializing in family and criminal law in Florida, O'Mara has a heck of a job ahead of him. Given his newest and probably most famous ever client, the lawyer's slogan is provocative at best: "Helping Good People Through Difficult Times."

As it were, Florida Governor Rick Scott expressed a similar sentiment in a statement released just ahead of the special prosecutor's press conference about Zimmerman's arrest and second degree murder charge. "We are fortunate in our state that most Floridians and local civic leaders are law-abiding, responsible citizens who all want justice to prevail," said the governor. "No matter what State Attorney (Angela) Corey determines following her investigation of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I trust in the goodness of all Florida citizens to allow our justice system to reach an appropriate conclusion in this case."

Update 5:34 p.m. EST: Twenty minutes shy of the 6 pm press conference in Florida, the Associated Press is reporting that George Zimmerman will be charged with second degree murder and is in custody. Once again citing a law enforcement official "with knowledge of the case," the AP's Brendan Farrington reports that Zimmerman is "in custody in Florida but wouldn't say where." We assume news will continue to leak out in advance of special prosecutor Angela Corey's news conference.

Updated 3:15: The Trayvon Martin shooting will finally head for a courtroom now that Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey has decided to charge George Zimmerman in the February 26th shooting of Trayvon Martin. The Washington Post's Sari Horwitz reports that Corey will hold a press conference to announce the charges, but so far none are known. NBC News and other outlets are reporting that the conference will be held tonight at 6pm EST. Associated Press' Kyle Hightower and Brendan Farrington didn't have much to add, but they spoke to a law enforcement official "with knowledge of the investigation," who confirmed that the charges would be announced this evening. Both reports tiptoed around the topic of police tracking down Zimmerman to arrest him when the time comes, a task that seems more and more daunting by the day.

Miami Herald reporter Frances Robles tweets that Zimmerman will face only one charge. So far, Zimmerman has not been charged in Sanford, Florida, where the crime took place because of the state's "stand your ground" law. This latest development comes one day after Zimmerman's lawyers dropped him as a client, claiming Zimmerman had contacted the special prosecutor and that they couldn't find him. Martin's family expressed concerns that Zimmerman might flee rather than face justice: "We have a lot of anxiety over the simple fact that nobody knows where the killer of Trayvon Martin is, that he is unaccounted for," Benjamin Crump, a family spokesman told CNN according to The Guardian. "That is a major concern because if the charges come forth like we believe they rightfully should, the question is: can they get him, to hold him accountable? Will he escape justice by fleeing? He is a flight risk right now, and we are concerned about that."

However, as The New York Times points out, Zimmerman's not completely off the grid. At least two edits have been made to a newly launched website, TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com. A racially charged image of pro-Zimmerman graffiti in Ohio has been removed and a note from Zimmerman himself, thanking his supporters, has been added. Of course, it's just as easy to update a website from Mexico as it is from the United States where Zimmerman's former lawyers insist the suspect is in hiding.

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