Zimmerman will look for ‘stand your ground’ hearing, trial likely next year

Nickalas Tabbert

George Zimmerman’s trial will likely come in 2013, and he is expected to try and escape second-degree murder charges under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense under the law, which allows someone to use deadly force, instead of retreating, if they believe their life is in danger, CBS News reported.

The hearing for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin will amount to a mini-trial involving much of the evidence collected by prosecutors as well as expert testimony from both sides, ABC News reported.

“Most of the arguments, witnesses, experts and evidence that the defense would muster in a criminal trial will be presented in the ‘stand your ground’ hearing,” said the statement posted by Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara on Zimmerman’s official defense website.

Legal experts say Zimmerman himself will likely testify since he is the lone survivor of the Feb. 26 incident. The posting did not confirm it, however.

Under the “stand your ground” law, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester is able to dismiss the charges if Zimmerman conclusively shows he fatally shot Martin because he “reasonably believed” he might be killed or suffer “great bodily harm” at the hands of the teenager, ABC said.

The law also says a person has no duty to retreat in the face of such a threat.

Zimmerman has a good chance to win his claim if he can also show he was in a place where he had legal right to be and did not create danger, said Janet Johnson, a Jacksonville defense attorney with experience in defending other “stand your ground” cases.

“Or, if he did, he had abandoned that activity when Mr. Martin ‘attacked’ him,” Johnson said in an email. “There’s only one side since Trayvon Martin can’t testify.”

Zimmerman is now free on a $1 million bond, CBS said.