Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. What to watch this weekend: 'The Walking Dead,' Stephen King's '1922'

    Blogs

    100 episodes of walkers: The Walking Dead

    Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead.
  2. Editorial: GOP failing to protect health care for Florida kids

    Editorials

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program. There is a disconnect that threatens health coverage for about 215,000 …

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program.
  3. Infamous killers of Tampa Bay, a region familiar with horror

    Crime

    TAMPA — Three people have been shot and killed in the last two weeks in Seminole Heights, and police say the cases are related. On Thursday night it was Anthony Naiboa, 20, who just happened to get off at the wrong bus stop.

    [Times files]
  4. Dunedin man accused of possessing homemade explosives released under Baker Act

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A 24-year-old man who was arrested for possessing destructive explosives Wednesday is no longer in jail.

    Randall Winston Drake, 24, of Dunedin is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]