Ex-George Zimmerman attorney now representing family of Florida teen shot by homeowner
A lawyer famous for getting George Zimmerman acquitted in the 2012 death of teenager Trayvon Martin says the fatal shooting of a different teen in the same Florida city last week doesn’t appear justified.
Attorney Mark O’Mara said a grand jury should review the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Adrein Green outside a man’s house in Sanford around 1 a.m. May 5, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
O’Mara, who’s now representing Green’s family, says the man who admittedly fired his gun from his doorway last Tuesday, striking Green, did not have the right to end the teen’s life over an alleged burglary of a vehicle outside.
Green was shot in the back and found dead near a car that was some 20 feet away from the residence, O’Mara said.
“That’s not self-defense, it just isn’t,” O’Mara said after Green’s weekend funeral, The Sentinel reported.
“Breaking into a car should not lead to a death sentence,” he said.
The Sanford Police Department and Seminole County State’s Attorney Office announced last week that they were not planning to recommend criminal charges against the shooter.
They said Green allegedly was burglarizing a vehicle on the man’s private, gated property when the shooting took place.
The homeowner reportedly said he fired twice from the threshold of his house after seeing someone on his property and fearing the person might be a threat to his wife and newborn child inside.
According to Florida law, deadly force is justified when someone intrudes on a private home or when it’s used to prevent “the imminent commission of a forcible felony,” The Sentinel reported.
O’Mara said he believes a vehicle burglary outside a home with no one else in the immediate vicinity doesn’t qualify.
“The statute is quite clear, when you’re looking at a life versus property — and a car is property — life always should win out,” the lawyer said, according to The Sentinel. “And in Adrein’s case, that didn’t happen, and now we’ve got to figure out why.”
O’Mara also highlighted the 911 call in the case, where the shooter said he fired his gun to scare the alleged burglar away.
“That does not seem to be an immediate fear of injury,” he said. “You can’t shoot at someone to scare them away, you can only shoot at someone when you’re in immediate, or imminent threat of great bodily injury.”
He said the fact that the shooter reached an emergency dispatcher before discharging his weapon made the whole shooting even more “questionable.”
“This guy had already called 911, he was in his house, armed with a gun, that’s not a bad position to be in to protect yourself," O’Mara said. "Why go outside and shoot?”
Seminole-Brevard State Attorney’s Office spokesman Todd Brown reportedly said Monday the case was still being investigated. He declined to comment on whether prosecutors might call for a grand jury, The Sentinel reported.
“Investigations like this can take weeks to complete and there may be the need to wait on forensic reports like ballistics, toxicology, or the medical examiner,” Brown wrote in a statement to the newspaper. “Once we have received and reviewed all the reports, evidence, and information gathered, a final determination as to criminal prosecution will be made and announced publicly.”
O’Mara gained fame working on Zimmerman’s defense after the gung-ho community watch member stalked Martin through a gated community in Sanford, engaged him in an altercation and fatally shot the 17-year-old high school student in the chest.
The jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter, deciding he was protected by Florida’s stand-your-ground law.
O’Mara reportedly said he doesn’t yet know all the facts in Adrein’s case, but he plans to pursue them.
“Justice is not going to be served through silence,” he said, according to The Sentinel. “What the family is asking, what they’re demanding, is that we have a grand jury panel, and that we, representing Adrein, have an opportunity to talk to that grand jury.”