JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is being charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose death ignited nationwide protests.
Special prosecutor Angela Corey says that the 28-year-old Zimmerman is in custody. She wouldn't disclose Zimmerman's whereabouts for his safety, but said that he will be in court within 24 hours.
Corey says that authorities did not come to the decision lightly, nor was it based on public pressure.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Second-degree murder is typically charged when there is a fight or other confrontation that results in death and where there is no premeditated plan to kill someone.
Zimmerman has asserted since the Feb. 26 killing in Sanford that he shot the 17-year-old Martin in self-defense after the two fought.
Trayvon Martin parents eager for arrest
WASHINGTON (AP) - The parents of Trayvon Martin said charges against George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting their son would start the healing process, but they won't stop fighting until he's convicted.
Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that right now she and Martin's father "can't get past our son being murdered and no one being arrested." His father, Tracy Martin, said it would be very important to also get a conviction.
Their comments came amid reports that charges would be filed against Zimmerman in the Feb. 26 shooting in Florida. Later Tuesday, the special prosecutor looking into the shooting said in Florida that Zimmerman had turned himself in to authorities and was charged with second-degree murder.
Tuesday afternoon, Martin's parents awaited word of charges from Florida in a room at the Washington Convention Center in a group that included their attorneys and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
At one point, the father put his arm around his wife and she leaned into him, resting her head on his chest.
A few minutes later the entire group stood up and exchanged hugs.