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tv   ABC 7 News at 600  ABC  April 11, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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>> trayvon martin's parents are inside the convention center. they are waiting for that press conference from florida's special process cuter. -- prosecutor. they were on stage when they found out prosecutors plan to press charges against george zimmerman. they had been on a 44-day mission calling for justice for their son and they were here with that call was answered. >> good evening to everyone. i and the special prosecutor for the trayvon martin case. moments ago we spoke by phone with tracy martin. it was less than three weeks ago we told the sweet parents we would get answers to all of their questions no matter where our truth for the quest led us.
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it is the search for justice for trayvon martin that has brought us to this moment. the team with me has worked tirelessly looking for answers and trayvon martin's death. i want to introduce to you one of my top homicide prosecutor is and john guy my other top prosecutor who will lead the investigation. also with us is jim madden, dominique pate, our sheriff. we appreciate all of their cooperation in this. i especially want to thank my two state attorney investigators who have spent countless hours doing what they do best -- investigating homicide. allow me to take a moment to acknowledge our governor rick scott and his office, attorney general and our u.s. attorney.
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thank you for your continuing support for this case and investigation. we spoke with all of them briefly and informed them of our plan as we continue. we did not come to this decision lightly. this is like a lot of the difficult cases we have handled four years. we have made this decision in the same manner. let me emphasize we do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. we prosecute based on the facts of any given case as well as the laws of the state of florida. when they appointed us to this case less than three weeks ago i want you to know these two by prosecutors, despite all that is on their plate already, handling all the homicides supervising the other young lawyers who also handles, sides, they took
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this case on. they said, we will lead this effort to seek justice for trayvon martin. we launched an investigation building on all the work that sanford police department and the state attorney's office in seminole county had already done. unless you have been a law enforcement officer or prosecutor handling a difficult case you cannot know what it is like to launch this kind of investigation and come to the right conclusions. the supreme court has defined our role on numerous occasions as prosecutors that we are not only ministers of justice we are seekers of the truth. we stay true to the mission. we prosecute on fax and law in the sovereign state of florida, and that is the way will be in this case. when we took our oath in 2009 we pledge not only to look out for our precious victims' but also
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to adhere to the rules of the criminal justice system and the rules of our constitution and statutes that protect a defendant's rights as well. what we charge a person with a crime we are equally committed to justice on their behalf as we are on our victim's behalf. we are here to do that on behalf of our victim trayvon martin and on behalf of the person responsible for his death george zimmerman. we will continue to seek the truth throughout the case. every single day our prosecutors across this country handle difficult cases. they adhere to that same standard, a never ending search for the truth and a quest to always do the right things for the right reasons. there is a reason cases are tried in the court of law not in the court of the public and not by the media. details have to come out in
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excruciating and minute fashion detail by detail, but of evidence by bit of evidence. it is only when a judge or jury gets all of those details than the laws apply to that and a decision can be rendered. we will scrupulously adhere to our obligations and the rules of evidence in presenting this case that way. today we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree. with the filing of the in affirmation he will have a right to appear in front of a magistrate in seminal county within 24 hours of his arrest and formal prosecution will begin. we thank all of those people across the country who have spent -- sent positive prayers' and energy our way. continue to pray for trayvon martin's family as well as our prosecution team.
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remember, it is trayvon martin's family that our constitutional victims and have the right to know the critical stages of these proceedings. i will entertain some questions but remember, we have strict rules of ethics, very strict rules of criminal procedure and we will be adhering to the rules. i will confirm that mr. zimmerman is in custody. i will not tell you where. that is for his sister -- his safety and everybody else's safety. >> [unintelligible] >> we do not discuss the evidence in the case. it was a full investigation, the full facts and circumstances that lead us to any decision in a case. >> did he turn himself in or was
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he a rested? >> he turned himself in. by turning himself and he was arrested on the capias that had been issued. >> why did take so long? what's it did not take long. we have any homicides that are investigated. >> it has been 45 days. the drop the ball in the investigation. >> i could tell you this investigation was under way by the sanford police department the investigation was in full mode. the governor appointed us less than three weeks ago. we took the work that they had done which was significant, we carried on with the work and we arrived in our decision approximately last week. following proper florida law and procedure, we had to make sure
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we had everything in place to issue this capias and an arrest. >> tell us what it was that led [unintelligible] >> that is what will be in court. that is why we try cases in the courtroom. >> is there already a bonding process under way? >> i want to thank the chief judge, he was helpful in helping us set up the procedures. they have a bond scheduled there. there is a regionally no bond, but mr. zimmermann's lawyers will be entitled to request a bond. a bond hearing will be held. they are a common occurrence. that is where it will be determined as to whether or not know bond, which is the bonds that currently will be changed
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by the court. >> heavy determine whose voices cry for help on the audio? >> that will be commenting on the facts of the case and we're not doing that. >> can you tell us what your investigation led to a second degree murder charge? >> i do not believe that question is accurate in the sense that when you have a homicide florida's jury instructions even say that before you can reach a degree of homicide you have to determine whether a person has committed an excusable homicide or a justifiable homicide. all murders are homicides, but not all homicides are murder. the law clearly says if there is the affirmative defense of excusable or justifiable homicide, that should be determined before you go to the degree of the crime. that is the process this case
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took. the only slight delay was the fact the governor stepped in and appointed us to take the case over and handle it. >> if they conducted a full of best addition, do you believe they would arrive at the same point? >> we work together. we work with all of our law enforcement agencies were returned to work and to get a. prosecutors are law-enforcement as well. we work with are investigating agencies and we try to come to as many mutual decisions as we can. this case was in that process when the governor stepped in and appointed us to take it over. we have continue to work with the sanford police department. we got full cooperation at all significant documents of record. bernie and john and their team took this over and did a lot more work and we can to our
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conclusion based on the facts and florida oppose a lot. >> obviously the maximum sentence is second-degree murder. is it your goal to see him go to jail for life? >> we do not make that determination at this time. we are to take it to the court system. once there is a decision, we were concerned ourselves with the sentence. >> have you been contacted by mr. zimmermann? >> i have not been contacted. he may have obtained new council and the past couple of hours. >> [unintelligible] >> one of the things we are not allowed to discuss our statements of the defendant
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charged with a crime. it is a constitutional amendment you all should be happy law enforcement affords everybody charged with a crime. i will not comment on where mr. zimmermann is. he is within the custody of law enforcement officers and the state of florida he will be taken when it is appropriate for the appropriate appearance in front of a judge. >> [unintelligible] >> i speak for icorey and the prosecution team -- angela corey. i am not sure they work through with the investigation at the point where he refused -- recused himself of this case. we have to have a reasonable certainty of conviction before we file charges. there are numerous affirmative
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defenses that can be asserted before the arrest, immediately after the arrest, during the trial. we have had been caught up in the middle of trial. my fellow prosecutors that sit here, we have all faced this before. alibi is an affirmative defense. sometimes the kids put on us in the middle of a trial. -- sometimes that gets put on us in the middle of the trial. we do everything we can to take the facts of the case and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. >> [unintelligible] >> i will be quite honest with the. i have some people who have lived through our justice system here and they are some of the finest people in jacksonville, florida. they represent a small percentage of people who know. we are committed to justice for every race, every gender, every person.
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they are our victims. we only know one category of prosecution, v for victim. that is all we know is justice for victims. we still have to maintain the constitutional rights. >> [unintelligible] >> any time we take over a case even from each other, we sometimes three interview. we go through the reports and try to gather more evidence. a thorough review of all the statements that were made was done. i can tell you i have the finest prosecution team ever. i know everybody feels this way. these people have the best experience you can ask for.
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>> were there do witnesses you encounter during that process? when and if the defense request participation in the discovery process, the witness list will be released at that time. >> [unintelligible] >> i am sorry. i thought i articulated we did not discuss the facts of the case and that is for a reason. people's rights have to be protected. it is designed a certain way not only under the constitution of the united states and the state of florida. we have rules of criminal procedure, rules and ethics. so much affirmation was leaked that should not have been leaked.
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we have to protect this for trade on and his family and george zimmerman. that is what we will continue to do. we do not talk to any defendant who is represented by counsel unless he waives his right to counsel. we never had to address the situation. >> can you shed any light at all on how mr. suburban came to turn himself in? >> i cannot. -- mr. zimmerman came to turn himself in? >> i cannot. i know there was a lot of speculation about, does law enforcement know where he is? do we have this under control? this is what we do every single day on behalf of our community. the governor put as many
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resources as they could on this case. i did not think there was ever a concern that if the decision was made to charge mr. zimmerman that it would be made in a timely fashion and law enforcement would have been under control to take him into custody. >> [unintelligible] >> we do not know that yet. >> can you talk about what happened when you receive the phone call? >> what always happens. we took a phone call and we called his lawyers. we do not talk to somebody represented by counsel pursuant to our rules of ethics. no contact was made between -- where are victim was a former marine who was brutally shot
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appeared we have brutal homicides the we fight hard for all the time. we will fight just as hard in this case. >> the your findings of fact the department of justice? >> they conduct their own investigation. i have been in contact with body oatmeal. -- bobby oneil. we do not work on their part of the investigation. we always share information with our federal counterparts if and when it is needed. >> can you address the fact that you are saying standing ground
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is not in play in this case? >> this is like many of the shooting deaths we have had in our circuit. if standard ground becomes an issue we fight it if we believe it is the right thing to do. if it becomes an issue in this case we will fight that affirmative defense. >> [unintelligible] >> my prosecutor, and a lot of them are here, they have worked tirelessly. they fight these stand your ground motions. we fight hard. some of them we have won and we have had to appeal them. we have won it on appeal. some we have fought hard and the judge ruled against the spirit that happens all over the state. it is the law of the state of florida and it will be applied. just a file -- justifiable use
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of deadly force was still a top defense to overcome. we still fight these cases hard. i would not comment on the specific law at this time. we enforce the laws of the state of florida. if that becomes an affirmative defense just like alibi insanity, any of the other defenses we will handle it accordingly. seminole county is the venue. we are appointed as prosecutors, we step into the prosecutor rolled down in seminole county. it is the court of jurisdiction and the venue. the question was, did we think we would be able to try the case there. that is a determination that will be made closer to if and when we pick a jury.
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>> [unintelligible] >> you asked about my concerns and i will tell you. there has been an overwhelming amount of publicity in this case that we hope will not impair us from picking a fair and impartial jury. we think a lot of facts or put out -- that is the problem. when i tell you it comes out in front of a jury, they are not allowed to render a decision until everything is in front of them. they are instructed that they cannot form a decision until they have heard everything. it is regrettable that somebody -- so many facts and details were released. the media has helped toning it down a lot and making sure people understand florida law and the process. we hope people will continue to do that. >> looking back at the police
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department which to save their investigation was thorough? >> i would not comment on that other than they were a tremendous help to us and had already done a lot of witness interviews. they do what the police do. anytime there is a person whose death is caused the police launch a thorough and intensive investigation. before the investigation could be finished, there was a lot of outcry about this case. it changed course and we were appointed to take over the investigation. >> [unintelligible] >> we have numerous homicides where a immediate arrests are not made. to us it did not seem unusual. i think judgment has to be made when the final decision is reached. that is what we would have hoped the public would have waited
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for. some people did not wait. when an hour rest can only be made on probable cause. that is with the sanford police department was trying to do. if there is a determination as to what they did or did not do that will be handled by somebody other than our prosecution team. >> can you shed any more light on the length of the conversation with his parents. [unintelligible] >> i think after meeting with trayvon martin's parents, the first monday night after we were appointed. the first thing we did was spray with them. we opened our meeting in prayer. we did not promise them anything. in fact we specifically talked about if criminal charges do not come out of this, what can we
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help you do to make sure that your son's death is not in vain. they were very kind and very receptive of that. we intend to stay in touch with them. basically we only had a few minutes to talk with them. it will probably want to talk later. they now know that charges have been filed and they are hearing as we speak that george zimmerman is in custody of law enforcement in our state. we are very proud of the job law-enforcement has done and we are proud to stand here and tell you that we represent the state of florida. thank you so much. >> to make a long story short george zimmerman is in custody. he has been charged with second- degree murder. they decided to prosecute last week. >> let's go to doug hill to get
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a brief look at the weather. >> 48 degrees outside of the weather center right now. here is our ford board 56 and 40. still some showers and sprinkles a run the area. we have reports of a few snowflakes. the winchester area and other areas, a little snow and slushy ice balls falling. a few more hours skies will clear. the average height is 65 so well below the mark. 41 in hagerstown. 48 degrees in baltimore. as we head over night it will get cold. 32-44 the range of overnight temperatures. first pitch to are for the home on a -- opener probably about 60 degrees with a gusty wind.
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80 degrees or warmer sunday, monday, tuesday of next week. that is the latest. >> thank you. how about the latest in sports? >> it is all about the nationals. they improved their record to 4- 2 in the new york. watching strasburg was special. he struck out nine batters. he gets his first win of the year. the mets did not look like a first-place club today. they were throwing wild pitches and giving up easy runs. new york had three errors. the nationals when 4-0 and share first place with the mets. game time tomorrow is 1:05 at the stadium. >> pretty exciting. >> see you at 11:00.
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