Zimmerman Judge to Jury: Consider Manslaughter

Prosecutors want third-degree murder added as well

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 11, 2013 11:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Looks like George Zimmerman is having a few last-minute, albeit lesser, charges tacked on in his murder trial. The jury will be instructed to consider manslaughter in addition to second-degree murder, Judge Debra Nelson ruled today, amidst a pitched battle over jury instructions, HLN reports. Prosecutors want to throw third-degree murder into the mix as well, a move the defense team is contesting. Prosecutors have dropped their attempt to add aggravated assault.

"Just when I thought this case couldn't get anymore bizarre. The state is seeking third-degree murder based on child abuse," defense attorney Donald West complained. "Is the court going to give this any serious contention or consideration?" He called the prosecution's gambit a "trick." He also called the prosecution's definition of "justifiable use of deadly force" a trick, at which point Nelson told him to stop calling things tricks. The hearing comes ahead of closing arguments.

George Zimmerman arrives for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla., July 11, 2013.
George Zimmerman arrives for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla., July 11, 2013.   (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
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