The judge in the George Zimmerman trial ruled that the jury will be allowed to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter instead of second-degree murder.
The ruling was a small victory for the prosecution, who wanted to include two lesser charges from the original charge of murder in the second degree. Those charges were manslaughter and felony murder in the third degree with child abuse as the underlying felony.
The defense argued against allowing the jury to consider any lesser charges, and defense attorney Don West called the child-abuse allegation “outrageous.” He stated:
“Just when I thought this case couldn’t get any more bizarre, the state is seeking third-degree murder charges based on child abuse?”
Judge Debra Nelson vetoed the possibility of a third-degree felony murder based on child abuse charge saying the evidence didn’t support it.
Zimmerman, who did not testify on his own behalf during the trial, has plead not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin last year.
If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman will face up to life in prison.
The state finished its closing arguments Thursday afternoon and the defense will present its closing Friday. Jury deliberations are set to begin on Friday.
Do you think Zimmerman has a higher chance of conviction with the addition of the manslaughter charge? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments down below!