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

(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.

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