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Trayvon Martin won't go to grand jury

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Special prosecutor Angela Corey says she will not bring the Trayvon Martin shooting death before a grand jury.

Trayvon Martin's parents (Photo: Associated Press)

Corey said Monday she continues to investigate the case and will not involve a grand jury set to meet Tuesday Corey says her decision to skip the grand jury shouldn't be considered a factor in determining whether charges will be filed against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has admitted to fatally shooting the unarmed Martin.

"From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a grand jury," said a statement from Corey's office.

The announcement means the decision on charges now rests solely with Corey, who had a reputation for not presenting cases before grand juries if it wasn't required.

Under Florida law, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries.

Corey took over the case last month after the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford recused himself.

That prosecutor, Norm Wolfinger, had originally called for the case to be presented before a grand jury. "From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a grand jury," said a statement from Corey's office.

Martin was killed Feb. 26 during a confrontation with Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford.

The case has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and Florida's self-defense law gives wide leeway to use deadly force and eliminates a person's duty to retreat in the face of danger.

An attorney for Martin's parents said in a statement that he is not surprised by the decision to avoid the grand jury and hopes a decision is reached soon.

"The family has been patient throughout this process and asks that those who support them do the same during this very important investigation," said attorney Benjamin Crump.

Corey's decision means she doesn't have to rely on potentially unpredictable jurors, said David Hill, an Orlando criminal defense attorney.

"Let's give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she knows there isn't enough for first-degree murder but she wants to maintain control and charge him with something else," Hill said. "What does she need a grand jury for? She cuts out the unpredictability of the grand jury. She goes where she feels she has more evidence."

 

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