SANFORD, Fla. -- George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer facing a second-degree murder charge for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. EDT today in this central Florida city where the shooting took place, according to court officials.
Zimmerman was arrested Wednesday after turning himself in to state officials. Later in the day, a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott announced that he would be charged with second-degree murder, which could result in a life sentence.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, has said that his client will plead not guilty. Zimmerman has said he was acting in self-defense when he shot 17-year old Trayvon Martin on the night of Feb. 26 outside of his gated town home complex.
The shooting, and the police department’s original reluctance to arrest Zimmerman, sparked a sustained national outcry and conversation about racism and American justice.
Zimmerman is being held without bond but may argue for bond to be set in court today.