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Trayvon's Mother Wants Justice, But Also Believes Death 'Was An Accident'

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET, April 13: Since we first published this post, Sybrina Fulton has gone on other news programs to clarify her comments. We have a new post here, headlined "Trayvon's Mother: Encounter Was An Accident, Shooting Was Not."

Our original post:

Both of Trayvon Martin's parents said this morning on NBC's The Today Show that they are glad the man who shot and killed their son has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

But in comments that underscore the emotional nature and complicated legal issues of a case that has captured the nation's attention, Sybrina Fulton said she would also like to tell George Zimmerman that he should apologize and that "I believe it was an accident. It just got out of control and he couldn't turn the clock back."

As we noted earlier, the second-degree murder charge prosecutors have leveled against Zimmerman presents "some steep legal hurdles." To secure a conviction, they will have to "prove Zimmerman intentionally went after Martin instead of shooting him in self-defense, refute arguments that a Florida law empowered him to use deadly force and get past a judge's ruling at a pretrial hearing," as The Associated Press reports.

Zimmerman's first court hearing is set for early this afternoon.

The 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has told police he acted in self defense. Martin's family and supporters believe Zimmerman racially profiled the black teenager. Zimmerman had called police to say that a "suspicious" young man was walking around the area. Martin, according to police reports, was unarmed.

The case has rekindled a national discussion about race relations and has led to marches and rallies in cities across the nation by people calling for Zimmerman to be brought to justice.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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