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Zimmerman may face hate crime charges

TROUBLE: Zimmerman may face hate crime charges

THE MAN who fatally shot black teenager Trayvon Martin may be charged with a hate crime.

The FBI are said to be 'actively seeking' evidence against George Zimmerman, who has already been charged with second-degree murder for shooting the 17-year-old, in a bid to build a case for the additional federal hate crime charge, reports WFTV.

The 28-year-old claimed to have killed Martin in self-defence on February 26, following an alleged confrontation in a gated neighbourhood in Sanford, Florida.

Police have said that the Martin, who had been returning home from a local shop, was unarmed when he was shot to death, causing many to accuse Zimmerman of targeting the teen because of the color of his skin.

If Zimmerman is charged and found guilty of a federal hate crime involving murder, he could face the death penalty.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said: “What the government would have to prove is that Mr. Zimmerman acted out of hatred toward African-Americans. That’s why he came into contact with him. That’s why he shot and killed him."

“Mr. Zimmerman could be punished by up to life in prison or even the death penalty,” he added.

In April FBI agents confirmed to NBC news that they had begun a 'parallel investigation', which focuses on whether Martin's civil rights were violated.

The case continues.

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