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Delivered at Press Conference on April 11, 2012
Good evening everyone, I am Angela Corey, special prosecutor for the Trayvon Martin case. Just moments ago, we spoke by phone with Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. Three weeks ago our prosecution team promised those sweet parents we would get answers to all of their questions, no matter where our quest for the truth led us.
And it is the search for justice for Trayvon that has brought us to this night.
The team here with me has worked tirelessly, looking for answers in Trayvon Martin's death.
I want to introduce to you Bernie de la Rionda, one of my top homicide prosecutors. This is Jim Madden, Assistant Commissioner of FDLE and one of his special agents in charge, Dominic Pape, our local SAC. FDLE and our investigators have worked together in this endeavor and we certainly appreciate their help.
Our other top homicide prosecutor, John Guy, is unable to be here as he is prosecuting a first degree murder trial right now. I especially want to thank our SAO investigators, T. C. O'steen and Dale Gilbreath who spent countless hours doing what they do best: investigating homicide cases.
Allow me to take a moment to acknowledge our Governor, Rick Scott and his office, Attorney General Pam Bondi and her office, along with U.S. Attorney Bobby O'Neill, for their continuing support of this special appointment and investigation. In fact, I just spoke with all of them before coming here to make them aware of the results of our investigation and our plan in going forward.
I can tell you we did not come to this decision lightly. In fact, this case is much like the many difficult homicides in our circuit and we have made numerous decisions in the same manner. Let me emphasize that we do not prosecute by pressure or petition.
We prosecute cases based on the relevant facts of each case and on the laws of the state of Florida.
Less than 3 weeks ago, on March 22nd, Gov. Scott and Ms. Bondi assigned our office to take over this case. Bernie and John were appointed as co-counsel and I want you to know that these two stellar prosecutors both supervise and themselves handle all of the homicides and justifiable use of deadly force cases every single day. They willingly added this tremendous responsibility to their already full plate, never once wavering in their determination to lead this team.
We launched an intensive investigation, building on all of the work that Sanford Police and the 18th Circuit SAO had already done, Unless you have ever been a prosecutor handling a homicide case, I don't think you could even imagine how difficult these types of investigations can be. We tried to leave no stone unturned.
The United States Supreme Court has clearly defined a prosecutor's role as a "minister of justice" and further that our mission is to seek the truth.
We are charged with upholding the United States Constitution, as well as the constitution and statutes of the great and sovereign state of Florida, as they relate to the prosecution of crimes committed against our citizens.
This has been our mission statement since I took office in 2009. By strictly adhering to this standard we vigorously pursue justice for all victims of crimes while maintaining the rights of every defendant.
I stand here with this team, confident that we are able to render a decision in this case. There is no doubt we have a desire for justice in this case. But I want to stress we also took an oath to protect the due process rights of any person whom we charge with a crime. Our oath will be upheld for our victim, Trayvon Martin and for the man responsible for his death, George Zimmerman.
Not only have we endeavored to do that thus far, we intend to continue to do so and to seek the truth throughout this case. Every single day, prosecutors throughout this country handle difficult cases, always keeping at the forefront their mandate to seek justice. We do our jobs in a courtroom for a reason. We are held to a strict standard about what we can and cannot discuss about a criminal case. Details come out in front of the trier of fact, bit by bit, in painstaking detail, relevant fact by relevant fact, and it is done that way for a reason. To protect the rights of all involved.
And it is only after ill! of the evidence and testimony is in, and the applicable law is applied that a decision is rendered. That is the true path of every prosecution.
Whether a judge or jury ultimately becomes the trier of fact in this case, I can assure you they will only get relevant, admissible evidence on which they can then base their decision. And we will scrupulously adhere to our ethical obligations and the rules of evidence.
Today, we filed an information charging George Zimmerman with Murder in the Second Degree. A capias has been issued for his arrest.
With the filing of the information and the issuance of the capias, Mr. Zimmerman will have the right to appear in front of a magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest, and thus the formal prosecution will begin.
We thank all of those who have sent positive energy and prayers our way. We ask you to continue to pray for our team as well as Tracy and Sybrina and the rest of Trayvon's family. We thank Mr. Crump and Mr. Parks for their daily assistance in communicating with our victim's family. We also ask everyone to refrain from any pre-judging this case before due diligence and due process takes its course.
Thank you. I will take a few questions but I want to point out, based on our rules of ethics and Florida law, I may not be able to answer many of your questions.
Finally, we implore you to allow this case to be tried in the proper arena, a court of jurisdiction in Seminole County.