Report: Trayvon Martin Homicide Investigator Chris Serino Sought Manslaughter Charge for George Zimmerman, Rebuffed by State Attorney’s Office
The lead homicide investigator probing the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin sought manslaughter charges against the shooter but was rebuffed by the State Attorney’s office, ABC News is reporting.
Sanford, Florida homicide investigator Chris Serino, who according to the Miami Herald categorized the Martin shooting as “homicide/negligent manslaughter,” was “unconvinced” by shooter George Zimmerman’s story of what happened on the night of February 26.
What is known about that fateful evening is that Martin, age 17, was staying at his father’s girlfriend’s home in a gated community in Sanford. He was walking with a pack of Skittles candy and an iced tea when self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, who was armed with a 9mm pistol, called police (something he often did) to report a “suspicious-looking” black man. The police operator told him not to follow Martin, but he did anyway, and the pair ended up in some type of altercation that resulted in the firing of the gun and Martin’s death.
Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him; Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who has since stepped aside from the case, seemed to accept his explanation.
“Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony,” Lee wrote. “By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time.”
Lee was referring to the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows citizens to kill people in self defense.
According to ABC News, investigator Serino filed an affidavit on the night of Martin’s killing stating he did not believe Zimmerman’s version of events. But the Brevard and Seminole County State Attorney’s office, headed by Norman Wolfinger, determined that there was not sufficient evidence to secure a conviction and instructed Serino not to press charges against the shooter.
According to the Miami Herald, special prosecutor Angela Corey said she could not confirm that Sanford police had recommended that manslaughter charges be filed against Zimmerman. Corey, who is the state attorney for Duval (Jacksonville), Nassau and Clay counties, was brought in by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in response to the controversy surrounding Wolfinger’s handling of the case
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