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George Zimmerman murder trial comes to a close

  • A US judge ruled on Thursday that unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin had died “through no fault of his own” but because neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman had labelled him as a criminal.

    Zimmerman has said he shot Martin in self-defence during a fight.

    He has been charged with second-degree murder but could be convicted of manslaughter.

    However, the judge denied a prosecution request to add a second option of third-degree felony murder based on child abuse as Martin, who was 17, was a minor.

    Zimmerman could be sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder or up to 30 years if found guilty of manslaughter.

    The fatal incident took place on the night of February 26, 2012 when Martin was walking home from a convenience shop in Sanford, Florida.

    Zimmerman, who was legally armed with a pistol, had been sitting in his car when he saw Martin and believed he was acting suspiciously. Zimmerman phoned the police and then left his vehicle to track down Martin.

    The case has attracted a great deal of attention and polarized the country.

    Zimmerman's critics consider him to a racial profiler who deemed Martin suspicious because he was Black.

    However, supporters of liberal gun laws, who have helped fund Zimmerman’s defense, say he has the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

    Closing arguments are expected to conclude today.