April 12, 2012
George Zimmerman ... facing charges. Photo: AP
The neighbourhood watch guard who shot dead an unarmed black teen in Florida in February has been charged with second degree murder and is in custody, a US state prosecutor says.
George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin inside a gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford after an altercation in a case that sparked a national uproar.
Police briefly detained Zimmerman after the incident, but did not arrest him at the time.
"Today, we filed an information charging George Zimmerman with murder in the second degree," Corey said at a press conference here. "I will confirm that Mr Zimmerman is, indeed, in custody."
Corey said Zimmerman was being held in Florida, but did not say where.
Martin's family and supporters say the teenager may have been the victim of racial profiling.
Zimmerman's supporters say that Martin attacked first, breaking Zimmerman's nose before knocking him to the ground and repeatedly slamming his head against the sidewalk. They insist Zimmerman fired in self-defence.
A controversial Florida law allows the use of deadly force when a person senses a reasonable fear of death or serious injury.
"Let me emphasise we do not prosecute by public pressure or petition. We prosecute based on the facts of any given case as well as the laws of state of Florida," Corey said.
Zimmerman's lawyers "will be entitled to request a bond, at which point a bond hearing will be held", she said.