SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman made his first court appearance Thursday on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
During the brief appearance, Zimmerman stood up straight, looked straight ahead and wore a gray prison jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer "Yes, sir," twice after he was asked basic questions about the charge against him and his attorney.
His hair was shaved down to stubble and he had a thin goatee, which appeared consistent with his booking photo from the day before. He had resurfaced Wednesday to turn himself in after weeks in hiding.
The judge said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and that an arraignment would be held on May 29 before another judge.
Zimmerman was charged after a public campaign to make an arrest in the Feb. 26 shooting, which has galvanized the nation for weeks. Some legal experts had expected Zimmerman to face a lesser count of manslaughter and say a prosecutor will face steep hurdles to win a murder conviction. Zimmerman has claimed that he fired in self-defense.
Legal experts say prosecutors face steep hurdles to win a second-degree murder conviction against Zimmerman. The prosecutor and her team will have to prove the 28-year-old Zimmerman intentionally went after Martin instead of shooting him in self-defense, to refute arguments that a Florida law empowered him to use deadly force.
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