Zimmerman charged with 2nd degree murder

SANFORD, FL (RNN) - The Florida neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed a teenager on his way home from a nearby store will face second-degree murder charges.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey announced the charges against George Zimmerman Wednesday afternoon, saying "we did not come to this decision lightly."

"Let me emphasize that we do not prosecute by public pressure or petition," she said. "We prosecute by the facts."

She would not discuss the details of the case or the reasoning behind the charges.

Zimmerman has turned himself in and has been taken into custody, Corey said.

Zimmerman, 28, could face life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17.

The news that Zimmerman would be charged was leaked to the Washington Post and CNN Wednesday, prompting special prosecutor Angela Corey to call a news conference to announce the charges.

Corey has contacted the Martin family, but they have not yet commented to the press.

According to CNN, Zimmerman has gotten new legal counsel after his attorneys dropped him yesterday.

News of the possible charges broke as the family addressed a crowd at the annual convention of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

"When the special prosecutor makes her decision, we want to make sure that everything remains peaceful and responsible, and that nothing gets out of hand," said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Martin family Wednesday.

The Sanford Police Department told CNN that they were preparing for the possibility of violence.

The family and their attorneys reiterated their push to get charges filed against Zimmerman.

"When you look at the history of this journey, it's been 44 days and counting now," Crump said. "All we're asking for is an arrest so we know the wheels of justice are turning."

Crump also said it was "troubling" that Zimmerman's former attorneys had never met him face-to-face.

"The killer of Trayvon Martin is unaccounted for," he said. "We are concerned that he's a flight risk. We are very concerned that he will never be brought to justice."

The sentiment was also shared by Sharpton.

"It is unheard of for someone to kill an unarmed innocent man and walk out of the police station," he said. "Now we're told 43 days later that [his attorneys] can't even reach him."

Martin, was shot and killed by Zimmerman, who thought Martin looked "suspicious" as he walked through a gated community. Zimmerman claimed he shot the teen in self-defense.

Police didn't arrest Zimmerman because they said evidence on the scene matched his story.

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