The jury in George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin can also consider a verdict on a lesser charge of manslaughter, a judge in Sanford, Florida, ruled.
Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson today denied Zimmerman’s request that the six-woman jury consider only the second-degree murder charge when they deliberate. Nelson has scheduled closing arguments by the prosecution for later today with the defense set to close tomorrow.
Second-degree murder carries the possibility of a life sentence. A manslaughter conviction could result in 30 years in prison, according to Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara.
Nelson ruled that the jury may not consider aggravated assault.
Zimmerman, 29, told police he acted in self-defense after Martin, 17, punched him in face, knocked him to the ground and threatened to kill him on Feb. 26, 2012. There were no eyewitnesses to the shooting.