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March 5, 2013 ABC News
George Zimmerman's attorneys stunned court observers Tuesday when they waived their client's right to a "Stand Your Ground" hearing slated for April that might have led to a dismissal of the charges in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin a year ago.
However, the defense lawyers didn't say whether they would waive the immunity hearing outright. They left open the possibility for that hearing to be rolled into Zimmerman's second degree murder trial. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain in his Florida subdivision, shot and killed the teen, who was visiting a house in the area.
The move allows the defense more time to prepare for the trial this summer, but also raises the stakes.
Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law entitles a person to use deadly force if he believes his life is threatened, and absolves them of an obligation to retreat from a confrontation, even if retreat is possible.
In recent weeks, the Zimmerman defense has suffered several legal setbacks. Judge Debra Nelson has ruled in favor of the state that Zimmerman's bail conditions should not be loosened, and that Trayvon Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump was not required to sit for a deposition about his interactions with the state's most important witness, a young woman who was the last known person to speak with Trayvon Martin before his death on February 26 2012.