Florida shooter will turn himself in if charged: lawyer

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 02, 2012 1:48 PM

By Daniel Trotta

SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - George Zimmerman will turn himself in to authorities in the event he is charged with a crime in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, his defense attorney Craig Sonner said on Monday.

"If he's charged, he will be arrested and he will turn himself in. However it goes, he's not hiding from the authorities. If he is asked, he will turn himself in. There's not going to be a manhunt or anything like that," Sonner told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin dead on February 26, saying he had acted in self defense. Police released him without charge, saying there was no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's story that he was attacked by the 17-year-old.

The case has riveted the country, prompting demonstrations in numerous cities demanding Zimmerman be arrested. Critics believe Zimmerman, who is half white and half Hispanic, racially profiled Martin in deciding to follow him, and that race played a role in police siding with his version of events.

Sonner and Zimmerman's relatives have said in interviews he is not a racist and has been unfairly vilified, that he feared for his life during his altercation with Martin and was justified in using deadly force.

Zimmerman remains free but in hiding. Special prosecutor Angela Corey has taken over the case and could announce soon whether she intends to charge him with a crime.

"We're preparing for trial," Sonner said. "We've done all we can except ask for discovery (evidence-sharing) from the state, which is not available to us yet" because he has not been charged.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Christopher Wilson and Todd Eastham)