Is George Zimmerman guilty of 2nd degree murder?

by Doug Book,  staff writer

From the projects to the White House, February’s shooting death of punk-in-the-making Trayvon Martin has provided a ready-made call to arms for the nation’s professional race hustlers. Even the President has taken advantage of this opportunity to pimp a black death for electoral profit.

And though it isn’t surprising that much of the national media have ignored the way in which the facts of the shooting apply to Florida statute, it does seem difficult to believe that no one in the nation is interested.     

Given the many conflicting stories concerning surveillance video and witness testimony it is difficult to know what really happened on the night Martin was killed by George Zimmerman. And until all of the evidence is presented in court, all that can be stated with any degree of certainty is that the one individual privy to existing information, Florida prosecutor Angela Corey, believed there to be enough evidence against Zimmerman to charge him with 2nd degree murder.  A jury will have to decide whether her decision was inspired by fact or politics.

Florida statute defines 2nd degree murder as a killing “…evincing a depraved mind regardless of (having no regard for) human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual…”

Whether according to centuries of English common law or the terms of the Modern Penal Code, a necessary element of criminal homicide—such as 2nd degree murder in Florida– is malice.  And a person who kills another is possessed of a requisite degree of malice if he exhibits:  “the intention to kill a human being; the intention to inflict grievous bodily injury…; or an extremely reckless disregard for the value of human life…”  It is malice revealed through such a state of mind which makes the killing of another a criminal act worthy of punishment

Given this definition and its application under Florida statute, it appears a charge of 2nd degree murder might indeed be legitimately brought against George Zimmerman.

However, the taking of a human life only becomes criminal homicide if it is committed intentionally and without justification. And throughout the United States, “…self-defense, including the use of deadly force in self-protection, [is recognized] as a justification defense.” (3)

Any individual who is NOT the aggressor in a confrontation is entitled to the use of force, including deadly force, “…if he reasonable believes that such force is necessary to protect himself from imminent use of unlawful deadly force by the other person.”  Nor is it necessary that an aggressor be armed with a gun, knife or anything usually thought of as a deadly weapon. For “…‘deadly force’ is force likely to cause death or grievous bodily injury,” whether effected by a weapon OR bare hands. (3)

If video, witness testimony and physical evidence clearly show Trayvon Martin the aggressor; if they reveal a violent attack by Martin sufficient to inflict “grievous bodily injury” and if it appears Zimmerman made a decision to fire based upon a reasonable fear of his life or well-being, then innocent by reason of self-defense must be the verdict delivered by a properly instructed, un-biased jury.  

Killing without justification is murder. Killing with the justification of self-defense is not. All George Zimmerman and Americans interested in justice can hope for is a jury of 12 honest people, unafraid to do the right thing.

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(3) “Understanding Criminal Law,” Joshua Dressler. 1995

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1999: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and wounded 24 others at the Columbine High School. The pair then committed suicide.

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11 thoughts on “Is George Zimmerman guilty of 2nd degree murder?”

  1. The charge of second degree murder shold be reserved for situations other than self defense. The D.A. wrote a political information (complaint) to pander to the many voices calling for Zimmermen's scalp. The justice system in this country has become nothing more than a political voice of government,

    The D.A. did not want this matter to go by grand jury since, if the facts were examined, there might have been a chance that no prosecution would result. This could not be permitted, thus the information was issued. It's a disgrace.

  2. Gee I wonder how he got those sores on his head. I know teacher—HE BEAT himself on the floor, just to make it look like TREYVON the–[SAINT]—Hurt him. We all know that is a "LIE". He killed TREYVON because he was a SAINT, and that was the reason. Nothing else matters. Those HONKIES saying that our SAINT TREYVON was stealing just because he had a laptop in his arms, and it was not his is a liar. This is of course a hilarious way to look at the damning ways this man is getting treated now. THERE WERE TWO LIFE'S THAT WERE CHANGED THAT DAY, AND NOBODY GIVES A D– ABOUT THIS MAN AT ALL.

  3. Respectfully, I have to disagree with your premise that "the taking of a human life only becomes criminal homicide if it is committed intentionally and without justification." I would instead contend that we have a constitutional right to life, as endowed by our Creator, and we know that Mr. Zimmerman took a life, so he is therefore "guilty." In other words, there is no question that Mr. Zimmerman is guilty of violating Trayvon's constitutional right to life. Now it is a matter of determining Mr. Zimmerman's criminal liability (if any); up to and including being granted "immunity" for his "crime" if he can demonstrate just cause, including self-defense. This is why the burden of proof is on Mr. Zimmerman; the "affirmative defense." The prosecution does not have to prove his guilt, only his degree of criminal liability. I believe this is an important distinction, at the very heart of protecting our Constitution and our sacred rights. I personally believe Mr. Zimmerman was grossly over-charged, but I also believe he bears some burden of responsibility for creating a volatile and lethal situation when he should have known better. But I'm thankful he has the opportunity to prove himself in a court of law, and will pray the system works, whatever the outcome.

    1. Jody,

      Actually this is not a premise on my part. I was just relaying a few of the basics of criminal homicide law. I don't know all of the evidence that exists, but if Martin was indeed the aggressor, punched Zimmerman and drove his head repeatedly into the sidewalk, Zimmerman had every right to defend himself with deadly force. For that is what was being used against him!
      Unfortunately I believe the 2nd degree charge was lodged in order to allow a judge to instruct the jury that it might find Zimmerman guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, which may very well be what happens given the political atmosphere. Had the prosecutor begun with a manslaughter charge, the jury would have had to find him guilty of that charge or of nothing! Naturally the politics of the situation would not permit that.
      Zimmerman's fate literally depends upon the honor, integrity AND courage of the jury. And although that it usually the case in the criminal justice system, this jury will have pressure which very few experience. In short, it might be the Black Panthers rather than the criminal justice system which decide the fate of George Zimmerman.

  4. I find it interesting that the words "until all the evidence is presented" are usually included in the same paragraph as stereotypical assumptions concerning this event. George Zimmerman had more prior contacts with law enforcement than Trayvon Martin, so exactly who is the "punk-in-the-making"? Regardless of the fact that Trayvon Martin was actually several inches taller and within 10-15 lbs. of George Zimmermans weight, he was unarmed, minding his own business, when GZ exited his vehicle against the advice of the 911 dispatcher. Had he not exited his vehicle, he wouldn't have found out that he bit of more than he could chew, and had to use his pistol since he obviously couldn't use his fists to back up his bravado.

  5. Our nation is facing the judgment of God… and it seems nobody believes it’s coming, or cares.

    The prophets of God were sent to warn Israel and its leaders to repent and turn from their wicked ways. And beloved, when you read the book of Jeremiah, it’s exactly like what’s going on around us. We all see the handwriting on the wall, but we’re told: “Better times are ahead,” —especially from politicians running for office. And most people buy into it!

    There are no leaders. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. As the world grows darker and no one seems to have the answers, the antichrist will soon make his move.

    The Lord told us in the latter days there would be a falling away. Jesus orders us to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Those of us who have been born again are to be lights in the darkness. Our bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19). When we received Jesus as our Saviour, He came to dwell in our bodies.

  6. We will hope the jury will be able to sift thru the lies and come up with the right verdict. I think Zimmerman truly believed his life was in grave danger, and having seen the back of his head, I am inclined to think he was right. Remember, if bad orders had been ignored the lives of our ambassador and navy seals could have been saved. And there again, our government lies to us and we will never get the truth from them. And poor Hillary has a concussion and can’t testify, how convenient for her.

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