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'Stand Your Ground' Lawmaker Relieved George Zimmerman Has Been Charged

Dennis Baxley Feels 'Redeemed' by Fla. Neighborhood Watchman's Prosecution in Trayvon Martin Killing

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By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
April 24, 2012|4:57 pm

Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, the Republican state legislator who pushed forth the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law currently in the spotlight in the Trayvon Martin case, has expressed his relief that the teen's killer, George Zimmerman, has been charged with second-degree murder.

The law has come center stage and received much criticism from opponents arguing that it helped Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watchman who shot and killed the 17-year-old teenager on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman told police officers that he acted in self-defense in an altercation that broke out with Martin, which allowed him to initially avoid being charged in the teen's death. The "Stand Your Ground" law allows for the use of lethal force for self-defense in certain situations.

"I was redeemed by it because everybody was saying it was the statute's fault that he couldn't be charged," Baxley (R-Ocala) said of Zimmerman, the Associated Baptist Press reported.

"But this doesn't apply to him because he wasn't in a defensive posture," the Christian lawmaker added. "I felt vindicated by the fact he was charged."

Former Gov. Jeb Bush signed Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law after the State Legislature passed it in 2005. Part of the law that Zimmerman may use in his defense during the trial states that he is justified in using lethal force if he can prove it was necessary to protect himself from being killed or suffering great bodily harm.

"He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony...," the law states.

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"The stand-your-ground law is one portion of justifiable use of deadly force," said Angela Corey, the prosecutor appointed by current Fla. Gov. Rick Scott to investigate case. "And what that means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt … So it makes the case in general more difficult than a normal case."

Those who support the law, like Baxley, have insisted, that it is only valid if properly applied, and authorities were right to arrest and charge Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

"There was nothing in this statute ever intended to protect somebody who was pursuing or confronting other people," Baxley previously told ABC News.

Zimmerman is currently out of jail after posting $15,000 or 10 percent of the required $150,000 bond.

 

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