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Grand jury to probe teen death

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Grand jury to probe teen death

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Sanford, Florida (CNN) — A grand jury will help investigate the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager whose death has sparked numerous questions and controversy, officials in Florida said today.
The Seminole County Grand Jury will convene April 10, State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said in a statement.
He said he called for an expeditious review from the police department, and “areas for further investigation have been identified.”
Federal prosecutors and the FBI will investigate the incident that has sparked claims of racial profiling and widespread calls for charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has acknowledged shooting Martin. Zimmerman says it was self-defense.
Martin, 17, was shot and killed while walking to his father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford after a trip to a nearby convenience store.
Attorneys for the Martin family say that a girl who was on the phone with the teenager near the time of the shooting, who does not wish to be identified, said Martin told her someone was following him. The girl could hear Zimmerman ask Martin his name and why he was there, the attorneys said.
In a police report about the February 26 incident, officer Timothy Smith says that when he arrived at the scene, he could see that Zimmerman’s “back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been laying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head.”
Martin’s father said the family believes race was a factor in their son’s death, fueling a huge surge in the public outcry over the incident in the racially mixed community 16 miles northeast of Orlando.
Zimmerman’s family has denied race played any role. Martin was African-American; Zimmerman is Latino.
“I think that’s an issue that Mr. Zimmerman himself considers as someone suspicious — a black kid with a hoodie on, jeans, tennis shoes,” Tracy Martin told CNN. “Thousands of people wear that outfit every day, so what was so suspicious about Trayvon that Zimmerman felt as though he had to confront him?”
The case was one of the most discussed topics Tuesday morning on Twitter, much of it dedicated to an online petition posted by Trayvon’s parents last month calling on Florida authorities to charge Zimmerman.
As of this morning, more than 534,000 people had signed the petition at, making it the third-largest petition campaign ever at the site, according to spokeswoman Megan Lubin. More than 10,000 people an hour were signing the petition early Tuesday.
Police say they have not charged Zimmerman, 28, because they have no evidence to refute his story.