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7:21 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Zimmerman Charged with Second-Degree Murder

The Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen is set to appear before a judge on second-degree murder charges in a case that galvanized the nation.

George Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities and is jailed in Sanford, Fla., in the February shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. His attorney says he plans to plead not guilty in court today.

Legal experts say a special state prosecutor has steep hurdles to climb to make a murder case against Zimmerman. Experts say they need to counter Zimmerman's claim that he shot Martin in self-defense, and prove he intended to kill Martin.

Zimmerman's attorney also plans to invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives people wide leeway to use deadly force to protect themselves.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved. 

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