Source: AP / CBS News
SANFORD, Fla. — A jury will consider a lesser charge of manslaughter as well as a second-degree murder charge against accused murderer George Zimmerman, a judge has ruled. But a request by prosecutors for the jury to also consider a lesser charge of third-degree felony murder – an offense that includes the commission of child abuse – drew heated opposition from the defense.
Defense attorney Don West called the possible lesser charge of third-degree felony murder “outrageous” and a “trick” by the state. He said prosecutors asked for the inclusion at the last minute.
“Just when I thought this case couldn’t get any more bizarre, the state is seeking third-degree felony murder based on child abuse?” West said.
The offense of third-degree felony murder would be premised on the idea that Zimmerman committed child abuse since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was underage when he was fatally shot. Prosecutors said they will not pursue the lesser charge of aggravated assault, as they initially indicated.
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