Vigils across the country marked the first anniversary of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. On Tuesday in New York City, Trayvon's parents were joined by hundreds of supporters for what they called the "Million Hoodie March." Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx was among those who spoke.
George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Martin on February 26th of last year, is awaiting trial for second-degree murder, which is set to begin June 10. This morning, Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara talks with Soledad on “Starting Point” to discuss the anniversary of the shooting as well as the next steps in the murder trial.
In April, O’Mara and his client will have the opportunity to ask the court to dismiss the charges under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law at an immunity hearing. O’Mara says the case is “a self-defense case” because his client “did not have the chance to retreat; so calling it a "Stand Your Ground" law is really not accurate.”
Regarding the public opinion of his client, O’Mara says things have improved since the initial reporting of the story.
Over the past year O’Mara says, “people have finally decided to wait or they've looked at the other information that has come out to see there are not only two sides to the story.” He adds, “it really looks at though the evidence supports George did not do anything wrong and that he was after the initial coming together confronted and injured by Trayvon.”
“It’s horrible to say when you’re talking about a young 17-year-old who’s now passed away that he may have caused his own death but the injuries that George had support nothing but that he was attacked by Trayvon and that he was fighting for his life,” O'Mara says.
"The evidence doesn't support anything that George is the aggressor in the fight. Trayvon had no injuries on him but for the fatal gunshot and George had significant injuries to his face and to his back. I know the prosecutor's position but they have to have the forensic evidence to support it,” O'Mara adds.
In an exclusive interview on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin say that the "Stand Your Ground" law needs to be fixed, and George Zimmerman's wife Shellie Zimmerman's perjury charge shows her "intentions were to hide things."
Fulton and Martin were on "Starting Point" to discuss the first meeting of the "Stand Your Ground" Task Force, set up by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, to review the state's law. Zimmerman has repeatedly claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot 17-year-old Trayvon on Feb. 26th, and legal experts pointed to the state's "Stand Your Ground" law as possibly granting him immunity in the case.
"I'm not opposed to the law," Fulton says. "I just think they need to take a look at the law...and really fix it."
Attorney Benjamin Crump says that the law encourages vigilantism, and an amendment is needed to clarify the law. "You can't initiate a confrontation and then say 'I was standing my ground,'" Crump says.
Soledad asks Tracy Martin about his new initiative to enlist dads across the country to repeal "Stand Your Ground" laws in their states. He says he's continuing Trayvon's legacy through this work, and he has to continue to spearhead this initiative.
"I fell that I have to stay out in front, and make sure this reaches the heart of America just to be that leader for the dads out there that don't have a voice right now," Martin says.
The family also responded to the arrest of George Zimmerman's wife Shellie, who was charged with perjury for lying about the couple's finances during her husband's April bond hearing. A review of bank records shows Shellie moved $74,000 from her husband's account into her own just a few days before that hearing.
"The court system was betrayed...[Shellie Zimmerman's] intentions were to hide things," Martin says.
See more from the interview in the clips below.
Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin ask dads to help repeal "Stand Your Ground" laws in their states.
Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin and attorney Ben Crump on Shellie Zimmerman's arrest for perjury.