State Attorney Angela Corey
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi have appointed State Attorney Angela Corey to head up the Trayvon Martin death case.
"I have accepted that assignment and notified Governor Scott that we will be happy to handle this case," Corey announced Thursday evening.
Corey and a team from the Fourth Judicial Circuit will be heading to Sanford Friday morning to investigate 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death.
According to the Executive Order from Governor Rick Scott, State Attorney Norman Wolfinger voluntarily disqualified himself to "avoid any appearance of conflict of interest or impropriety".
Martin was walking through a gated community in Sanford last month when he was shot by George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman told dispatchers he was pursuing Martin and admitted to pulling the trigger, but has claimed self-defense.
"All cases where self-defense is claimed are a challenge," Corey said, "But that's what I love about our prosecutors. They're so thorough and so diligent working with law enforcement and just a dogged determination to discover all of the facts."
Zimmerman has not been arrested.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has also stepped down. He's defended his decision to not arrest Zimmerman.
"Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense," Lee said. "Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the ground to arrest him."
Jacksonville Directors of Homicide Prosecutions Bernie de la Rionda and John Guy will handle the investigation.
"We're going to do a thorough investigation," de la Rionda said. "Wherever the facts lead us is where we're going to go."
Governor Scott also plans to form a task force that will convene once the investigation is completed. He released the following statement on the task force.:
"As law enforcement investigates the death of Trayvon Martin, Floridians and others around the country have rightly recognized this as a terrible tragedy. Like all Floridians, I believe we must take steps to ensure tragedies like this are avoided. After listening to many concerned citizens in recent days, I will call for a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to investigate how to make sure a tragedy such as this does not occur in the future, while at the same time, protecting the fundamental rights of all of our citizens - especially the right to feel protected and safe in our state.
"To this end, I have asked Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to lead the Task Force, conduct public hearings, take testimony and recommend actions - legislative and otherwise - to both protect our citizens and safeguard our rights. Reverend R. B. Holmes, Jr., the pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee has agreed to be the vice-chair of the Task Force. I have also reached out to Attorney General Pam Bondi, Speaker Dean Cannon, President Mike Haridopolos and incoming presiding officers Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford who all agree that a Task Force needs to be assembled. They will be recommending individuals for me to appoint to the Task Force, which will thoroughly review Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and any other laws, rules, regulations or programs that relate to public safety and citizen protection.
"It is my intention to have the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection convene immediately after the investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin by the newly Assigned State Attorney Angela B. Corey (of the 4th Judicial Circuit) formally ends. At that time they can define their mission and scope as well as set a timetable for a report, with recommendations to be delivered to my office and to the Florida Legislature. The Task Force will hold public hearings, take testimony, solicit ideas and review all matters related to the rights of all Floridians to feel safe and secure in our state. As we exercise our right to be free and secure both in public and in the privacy of our own homes it is important that we have an open and honest discussion on these issues so that we might help avoid such tragedies in the future."
First Coast News