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Trayvon Martin shooter charged with murder after six weeks

‘Thank God’, the mother of Florida teenager Trayvon told reporters after weeks of public protests.

A woman reacts to the news of Zimmerman's arrest at a Florida chapel
A woman reacts to the news of Zimmerman's arrest at a Florida chapel
Image: Julie Fletcher/AP/Press Association Images

A NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida six weeks ago has been charged with second-degree murder by US prosecutors.

The move breaks new ground in the investigation into the killing, which sparked protests across America when it emerged that George Zimmerman had not been arrested after shooting the unarmed teenager.

Zimmerman was taken into custody yesterday and charged with second-degree murder, the Washington Post reports.

Trayvon Martin’s parents responded emotionally to the news. “Thank God,” his mother Sybrina Fulton said. “We simply wanted an arrest. We wanted nothing more, nothing less than an arrest and we got it.”

The LA Times reports that Tracy Martin, the teen’s father, said: “I feel very good just knowing he’s off the street, that he’s in custody, that the wheel’s starting to turn in our favour.”

This video shows the emotional statements given by Martin’s parents to the news of the arrest:

YouTube/CBS

Prosecutors have insisted that the decision to charge Zimmerman was not a response to public pressure.

Zimmerman’s legal representatives announced yesterday that they were dropping his case, adding he was “alone” and had been “emotionally crippled” by the public scrutiny he was under.

The case sparked heated debate over Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law, which allows people to use force in self-defence when they believe they are under threat, without having to retreat first.

Questions have also been asked over whether the incident could have had a racial element.

If convicted, 28-year-old Zimmerman could face life in prison, the New York Times reports.

More: Lawyers drop Zimmerman, say he’s ‘emotionally crippled’>

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Michael Freeman

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