12 Apr 2012

Murder charge laid in Florida

1:43 pm on 12 April 2012

A prosecutor in Florida says a neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager has been charged with second degree murder.

The killing on 26 February has prompted civil rights demonstrations around the United States.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey made the announcement on Wednesday.

George Zimmerman, 28, claims he shot Trayvon Martin, 17, in self-defense.

But the boy's family and supporters say Mr Zimmerman thought he was a criminal based on his race and the fact he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. They say Trayvon was killed in cold blood.

Mr Zimmerman was not arrested at the time, because a state law allows citizens to use lethal force if they feel threatened.

Mr Zimmerman has turned himself in and is now in custody.