Legal team drops Zimmerman in Florida shooting case
SANFORD, Florida (CNN) — Attorneys for neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who authorities say fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Florida, said Tuesday they have lost contact with their client and will no longer represent him.
“He has gone on his own. I’m not sure what he’s doing or who he’s talking to,” legal adviser Craig Sonner said. “If he wants us to come back as counsel, he will contact us.”
Sonner, who said the last time they had contact with Zimmerman was Sunday, spoke to reporters in Florida with attorney Hal Uhrig.
Uhrig said Zimmerman contacted the office of the special prosecutor appointed to lead the investigation on his own.
“One of the things every defense attorney tells his client is don’t talk to the prosecutors,” said Uhrig, adding that he is concerned about his former client’s “emotional and physical safety.”
Although details of the February 26 incident remain murky, what is known is that Trayvon Martin, who was African-American, ventured out from his father’s fiancee’s home in Sanford to get a snack at a nearby convenience store.
As he walked home with a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea, he was shot and killed by Zimmerman, who is Hispanic and who had called 911 to complain about a suspicious person in the neighborhood, according to authorities.
Zimmerman told Sanford police he acted in self-defense.
Sanford police questioned Zimmerman and released him without charges. Authorities have said he was not immediately charged because there were no grounds, at the outset, to disprove his account that he’d acted to protect himself.
Thousands have converged on Sanford to join in protests calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and criticizing the police department’s handling of the case.
Martin’s death has triggered a nationwide debate about race in America and Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury.