• State Attorney's Offices overwhelmed by emails demanding justice for slain teen


    SANFORD, Fla. - It has been 18 days since a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed in Sanford as he was walking back to a home from a convenience store, and his killer has still not been arrested.

    A preliminary autopsy on Trayvon Martin has not been released, and neither has the 911 calls made the day of the fatal incident.

    A Seminole County judge will decide whether the 911 call that the shooter George Zimmerman made the night of the killing will be released, officials said.

    The computer systems at the Seminole County and Brevard County State Attorney's Offices, where Norm Wolfinger is lead prosecutor, were shut down on Thursday morning due to the overwhelming amount of emails by angry people demanding justice for Martin.

    Officials said more than 100,000 emails put too much pressure on the server.

    Supporters want Wolfinger to charge Zimmerman, the neighborhood vigilante, for the boy's killing.

    Wolfinger refused to speak with WFTV, but a spokesperson said that Wolfinger assigned three veteran attorneys to work with a group of six intake officers who will review witness statements and determine if Zimmerman broke the law.

    The State Attorney's Office has its own investigators, and it's possible they will interview witnesses again and try to track down new ones.

    After the investigation is complete, Wolfinger could decide if Zimmerman should be charge, or he could let a grand jury of 21 Seminole County citizens decide.

    In 2005, two Sanford security guards were in a similar situation.

    Billy Swofford shot and killed 14-year-old Traveres McGill, and claimed it was in self-defense.

    A grand jury charged Swofford with manslaughter, but a jury found him not guilty in 2007, because there wasn't enough evidence in the case.

    Martin's parents told WFTV reporter Daralene Jones that they might demand Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee to resign. Officials at the State Attorney's Office said that in Seminole County last year 54 percent of cases forwarded to their office without an arrest are prosecuted.

    Sanford's police chief repeatedly said the Zimmerman's claims of self defense left the department with little cause to arrest him.

    However, WFTV investigative reporter George Spencer looked closely at the incident report.

    He found the officer first at the scene was also involved in another controversial case in which Sanford police were slow to make an arrest. 

    The Sanford Police Department has seen big changes since late 2010. Its chief retired and it moved into a new building.

    But a long-time resident told Spencer that a pattern of questioned investigations and the latest case has left him with "no confidence in department leadership," and uncertainty whether its reputation can be mended.

    In 2010 a Sanford police officer's son punched a man, but he was not arrested.

    Only after WFTV broke the story and asked questions was Justin Collison arrested.

    "In the spirit of full transparency, there are some things that maybe we could've done differently out there," said Capt. Jerry Hargrett of the Sanford Police Department.

    WFTV learned that the patrol sergeant in charge the night of Collison's attack, Anthony Raimondo, was also the patrol sergeant who initially supervised Martin's shooting scene.

    The department's arguably biggest embarrassment was in 2009 when it failed to send off fingerprints from an attempted rape for review, until WFTV asked about the delay.

    Last May, new police Chief Bill Lee arrived from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

    His mission of polishing the force's image possibly hit its biggest hurdle yet with Martin's death.

    Earlier this month, WFTV aired undercover video of one of his officers allegedly taking bribes.

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