George Zimmerman's Second-Degree Murder Charge Shocks Legal Experts

After investigating the Trayvon Martin case for three weeks, Jacksonville state attorney Angela Corey charged self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin. The decision, made Wednesday, surprised legal experts.

"It seems like an enormous swing to be able go from not feeling you have enough evidence to arrest him, to charging him with essentially as high as you can charge him in second-degree murder," Richard Hornsby, a criminal defense attorney in Orlando, Fla., told "Second-degree murder requires him to have engaged in an intentional act with ill will, hatred or spite. It means he basically went and was looking to shoot Trayvon Martin."

Zimmerman, 28, shot and killed the unarmed teen outside in a Sanford, Fla., gated neighborhood on Feb. 26 and while 17-year-old Martin's family insist that their son was murdered, Zimmerman maintains that he acted in self defense and is expected to plead not guilty to the charge.

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While some legal experts say that the second-degree murder charge- which carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars if Zimmerman is convicted- is a bit extreme, others have pointed out that it is too early in the case to make any determinations.

Some experts have indicated that it is difficult to determine just how appropriate the second-degree murder charge is because not all of the evidence in the case has been made public. Corey remained tight-lipped about the case details during a recent press conference.

"There's a reason cases are tried in the court of law, not in the court of the public, and not by the media. We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We will continue to seek the truth throughout this case," Corey said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Zimmerman's new attorney, Mark O'Mara, is expected to invoke the controversial "Stand Your Ground" provision of Florida law in an attempt to strengthen his client's defense, according to reports.

"I'm expecting a lot of work and hopefully justice in the end," O'Mara said during a press conference.

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