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George Zimmerman Charged with the Murder of Trayvon Martin [VIDEO]

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Handout, Getty Images / PEOPLE

George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot Florida teenager Trayvon Martin earlier this year, was charged with second-degree murder and taken into custody on Wednesday.

Zimmerman maintains he was acting in self-defense when he shot Martin, 17, on Feb. 26 in Sanford, FL. The tragedy sparked a national debate about race and the state’s “stand your ground” gun law, with many people upset that Zimmerman wasn’t charged with a crime the night the shooting occurred.

His previous legal team quit the case earlier this week, citing an inability to contact their client, but his new attorney, Mark O’Mara, said on Thursday’s ‘Today’ show that Zimmerman, 28, will enter a plea of not guilty.

Second-degree murder is often charged when a fight or other confrontation results in a death that didn’t involve a premeditated plan to kill. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years when a gun is used, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Martin’s parents, who also appeared on Thursday’s ‘Today’ program, are relieved their son’s killer will be prosecuted, but Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, said, “I believe it was an accident, I believe that it just got out of control and [Zimmerman] couldn’t turn the clock back … I would ask him, ‘Did he know that that was a minor, that that was a teenager and that he did not have a weapon?’”

Watch Trayvon’s parents’ appearance on the ‘Today’ show below.

[Associated Press]

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