George Zimmerman, the man who shot unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, reportedly fears for his own life now, according to a friend and a legal adviser, Reuters reported.
Zimmerman, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, remained in seclusion after a $10,000 bounty was offered by a group called the New Black Panther Party, said lawyer Craig Sonner. Sonner added that he would represent Zimmerman if charges were filed.
Zimmerman, who has not been arrested, claimed self-defense and is protected by Florida's Stand Your Ground law which allows people to use deadly force in self-defense, according to Reuters.
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Joe Oliver, Zimmerman's longtime friend, came to his defense on Sunday, denying that his friend was a racist. Oliver, himself black, told Reuters, "He's a caring human being. I mean, he took a man's life and he has no idea what to do about it. He's extremely remorseful about it."
Oliver also added, "What makes all these people who are threatening George any better than the person they think he is? You've got all these people wanting to lynch the man, and they don't know the whole story. There are huge gaps that are being filled in and interpreted without evidence."
Using even more forceful language on television appearances, Oliver said he "didn't even know whether George pulled the trigger," according to ABC News. Oliver also said Zimmerman was "very, very sorry, because in many ways George has lost his life too."
According to The Orlando Sentinel, police said that their evidence of the incident suggested that Trayvon punched Zimmerman. The account the shooter gave to police said that Trayvon climbed on top of Zimmerman and "slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered."
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Meanwhile, rallies continue in a demand for justice in the case, and Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, are scheduled to lead a rally in Sanford to protest the lack of an arrest, according to the Associated Press. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will also be in attendance, as well as leaders from the Urban League and the ACLU.
A CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday showed that nearly three-fourths of Americans (67 percent of whites and 86 percent of non-whites) believe Zimmerman should be arrested. CNN also reported that rallies were planned for Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis, Tennessee and Iowa City.
Trayvon's parents' lawyer, Benjamin Crump, revealed on Monday that Trayvon had been suspended from his Miami high school after trace amounts of marijuana were found on a plastic bag in his possession, according to The New York Times. The amount of marijuana was not enough to warrant an arrest, said Crump, but it was the reason Trayvon was suspended for 10 days and went to Sanford with his father.
Crump reiterated, "He didn't do anything violent or criminal."
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View all of our Trayvon Martin coverage.
Here is Zimmerman's lawyer, Sonner, talking to CNN about the case: