ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Special prosecutor Angela Corey said Monday she will not take the Trayvon Martin shooting death before a grand jury.
Corey said she continues to investigate the case and will not involve a grand jury that had been set to meet Tuesday in Sanford, Fla.
Corey said her decision to skip the grand jury shouldn’t be considered a factor in determining whether charges will be filed against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has admitted to fatally shooting the unarmed Martin.
The announcement means the decision on charges now rests solely with Corey, who had a reputation for not presenting cases before grand juries if it wasn’t required. Under Florida law, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries.
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Corey took over the case last month after the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford recused himself. That prosecutor, Norm Wolfinger, had originally called for the case to be presented before a grand jury.
“From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a grand jury,” said a statement from Corey’s office.
Martin was killed Feb. 26 during a confrontation with Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford.
The case has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and Florida’s self-defense law gives wide leeway to use deadly force and eliminates a person’s duty to retreat in the face of danger.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.