Prosecutors convinced the judge presiding over George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial to allow jurors to consider manslaughter, but their surprise bid to include felony murder — based on child abuse — in the jury instructions was denied after a heated morning session in which an angry defense attorney called the effort a “trick.”
Judge Debra Nelson ruled against the prosecution’s request that juror’s be able to consider a third-degree felony murder charge based on child abuse. Under felony murder statutes, a defendant can be charged with murder if he or she causes someone’s death while committing a felony, in this case, according to the prosecution, child abuse. At 17, Martin was a minor when he was killed.
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