Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

2012 in review: The shooting death of Trayvon Martin

We know the teenager had Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. We know the older man had a gun. We know that the teenager died of a gunshot to the chest about 70 yards from his father's fiancee's townhome in a gated community called The Retreat at Twin Lakes.

But much of what transpired between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman on the night of Feb. 26 in Sanford remains the subject of intense debate. Did the media rush to accuse a self-appointed neighborhood watch coordinator who seemed overly suspicious of an unarmed black kid wandering through his community? Or did police rush to excuse a man who claimed he fired his handgun in self-defense?

After a month and a half of national media attention so intense that it briefly eclipsed the presidential primary season, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder by a special prosecutor. But by then his defense had already been established: a much-disputed law called "Stand Your Ground."

Written into law in 2005 at the behest of NRA lobbyists, Stand Your Ground removed the obligation to retreat from confrontations, giving citizens the right to use deadly force anywhere they legally had a right to be. All that mattered was that they feared for their lives.

The law may well exonerate Zimmerman at trial next year, but it's hard not to wonder what would have happened if he had simply followed the police dispatcher's advice not to follow Martin.

2012 in review: The shooting death of Trayvon Martin 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.