George Zimmerman is likely to be charged with a hate crime by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is in addition to standing trial for second-degree murder by the state prosecutors in Florida.
According to media reports, FBI investigators are actively questioning witnesses in the retreat at the Twin Lakes neighborhood of Sanford, Fla., seeking evidence for a possible federal hate crime charge. Martin was unarmed when he was shot to death, police said, and some purport that Zimmerman, 28, of targeting the teenager, 17, solely because of the color of his skin.
Legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said federal prosecutors would have to prove the hate crime to charge George Zimmerman, though.
“What the government would have to prove is that Mr. Zimmerman acted out of hatred toward African-Americans. That’s why he came into contact with him. That’s why he shot and killed him,” Sheaffer said.
George Zimmerman admitted to killing Martin in February during a confrontation. However, he claims the shooting was in self-defense. He’s facing a second-degree murder charge, which carries a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. But if Zimmerman is charged and found guilty of a federal hate crime involving murder, he could face the death penalty.
“Mr. Zimmerman could be punished by up to life in prison or even the death penalty,” said Sheaffer.
Zimmerman, of course, said he used deadly force in self-defense after Martin punched him, knocked him to the ground and repeatedly slammed his head against a sidewalk.
In related news, a photograph recently surfaced which is said to show Zimmerman’s mother in the arms of her grandfather, who is black.
Zimmerman’s mother testified at his bond hearing that she has met the black child whom he mentored and even risked his safety in a dangerous neighborhood to do it, because he didn’t want to abandon the child.
– terry shropshire