Zimmerman May Face Hate-Crime Charges Which carry death penalty: WFTV By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted May 15, 2012 6:21 PM CDT 112 comments Comments George Zimmerman makes a court appearance on April 20 in Sanford, Fla. (Getty Images) (Newser) – A local TV station in Orlando says FBI investigators are questioning witnesses to seek evidence for hate-crime charges against George Zimmerman. The killer of Trayvon Martin currently faces second-degree murder charges that could send him to prison for life. If the feds add hate-crime charges and get a conviction, Zimmerman would face the death penalty, reports WFTV. “What the government would have to prove is that Mr. Zimmerman acted out of hatred toward African-Americans," says the station's legal analyst. "That's why he came into contact with him. That's why he shot and killed him." State prosecutors maintain that Zimmerman profiled and stalked Martin because he was black.