According to WTFV, the FBI may charge George Zimmerman with a hate crime in relation to the shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin.
While already facing 2nd degree murder charges (which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison), federal hate crime charges carry a maximum penalty of death, if convicted.
According to the report, FBI officials are actively canvassing the neighborhood surrounding the site of the shooting. Prosecutors would have to prove that Zimmerman acted out of hatred for black people.
“‘What the government would have to prove is that Mr. Zimmerman acted out of hatred toward African-Americans. That’s why he came into contact with him. That’s why he shot and killed him,’ Sheaffer said.
Sheaffer said a federal hate crime murder charge could bring more serious consequences than the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman faces now.
‘Mr. Zimmerman could be punished by up to life in prison or even the death penalty,’ said Sheaffer.
Zimmerman said he used deadly force in self-defense after Martin punched him, knocked him to the ground and repeatedly slammed his head against a sidewalk”
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