George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot an unarmed teenager last year after an altercation while the boy was walking home, has been denied the chance to delay his trial, which is set to begin in June.
Zimmerman claims he shot in self-defense after he approached 17-year old Trayvon Martin for looking "suspicious" as the boy walked home from the store. Zimmerman was a self-appointed neighborhood watchman at the time and had called police to alert them of a suspicious presence; they advised him to stay away from the boy, but he confronted him anyway and a fight ensued. If convicted, Zimmerman faces 25 years to life in prison.
Zimmerman's attorneys originally asked for the trial to be pushed back so they could have more time to prepare and so they could raise money for his defense, but Judge Debra Nelson ruled that the trial would start on time.
“The state has virtually unlimited resources to prosecute George,” Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O’Mara said. “To finance his defense, however, George relies on the generosity of individuals who believe he is innocent.”
Outside the courthouse, supporters of Martin and his family gathered with candles and handmade signs featuring photos of the boy. Tuesday would have been his 18th birthday.
"The spirit of Trayvon Martin was definitely in the courtroom today on what would have been his 18th birthday. The judge ruled that the trial would not be delayed," Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said.