George Zimmerman seeks 'stand your ground' hearing in Trayvon Martin case



SANFORD, Fla. - Attorneys for the neighborhood watch volunteer charged in the death of an unarmed teen said they'll seek a "stand your ground" hearing that could lead to criminal charges being dismissed.

A statement posted Thursday on the website for George Zimmerman's legal team said evidence released by prosecutors shows "clear support for a strong claim of self-defense."

"Now that the state has released the majority of their discovery, the defense asserts that there is clear support for a strong claim of self-defense," defense attorney Mark O'Mara posted on the website.

Zimmerman said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February in self-defense under Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force, instead of retreating, if they believe their lives are in danger. He has been charged with second-degree murder in the case, but if a judge rules the evidence fits the conditions of "stand your ground," the criminal charges would be dismissed, and Zimmerman would be immune from civil action in the shooting.

WFTV asked legal analyst Bill Sheaffer whether Zimmerman is risking making more of the "inconsistent" statements which prosecutors said he's already made.

Zimmerman has given several interviews to Sanford police and recently did a network television interview, but it appeared his answers weren't always exactly the same.

It might appear that he's taking risks by talking so much, but even if he is, Sheaffer said Zimmerman has nothing to lose and everything to gain by having a "stand your ground" immunity hearing.

The defense can argue that Zimmerman's inconsistencies don't change the important facts of the case, which are backed up by physical and circumstantial evidence.

“This is like opening a Broadway play off Broadway,” said Sheaffer. “You can run it by the audience. If there's a need to fix it, certainly for your main audience, you do it.”

Zimmerman shot and killed Martin six months ago. He said the teenager was beating him and he had to defend himself.

Sheaffer said if Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester denies Zimmerman's motion to dismiss his murder charge, the defense can fine tune its case before taking it to a jury.

“They close all the holes,” said Sheaffer.

Zimmerman is free on $1 million bond.