SANFORD, Fla. (CN) – Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman surrendered Wednesday and is being held without bond after Florida prosecutor Angela Corey said she had enough evidence to arrest and charge him with second-degree murder.
The arrest came after more than a month of protests, petitions, rallies and public outcry of the Neighborhood Watch volunteer’s shooting of the 17-year-old Martin, who was carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea when Zimmerman shot him.
Corey announced at a news conference Wednesday that Zimmerman would be charged and was in custody. Zimmerman surrendered in Jacksonville, and was taken to the Seminole County jail, where he arrived at about 8:30 p.m.
Corey said she did not come to the decision lightly.
“We do not prosecute by public pressure or petition,” Corey said. “We prosecute based on the facts of any given case as well as the laws of the state of Florida.”
If convicted, Zimmerman could face up to life in prison for the second-degree murder charge. His first court appearance was expected this morning. He is being held without bond, according to Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger.
Zimmerman, 28, shot Martin on Feb. 26, as the teenager walked from a convenience store to his father’s home to watch basketball.
According to 911 tapes, Zimmerman said Trayvon looked like he was “up to no good,” “on drugs or something” and was “just walking around looking about.”
Zimmerman followed Martin and confronted him after a police dispatcher told Zimmerman he did not need to do so, according to a transcript of the call.
Zimmerman said he acted in self defense.
Former attorneys for Zimmerman, Craig Sonner and Hal Ulrig, said Tuesday that they would no longer represent Zimmerman and had lost contact with him.
Sonner said Zimmerman had gone on his own and did several things against their advice, including setting up a website asking for donations, contacting Fox News and contacting special prosecutor Corey.
The attorneys said they believe Zimmerman did act in self-defense and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. He has been in hiding for weeks and his attorneys have not yet seen him and have not heard from him since Sunday, they said.
Zimmerman has received death threats and the New Black Panthers Party is said to have offered a $10,000 bounty for him.
Zimmerman now is represented by Mark O’Mara of Orlando.
O’Mara said Zimmerman is scared and concerned about receiving a fair trial.
“We simply wanted an arrest, nothing more nothing less,” said Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. “And we got it. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you, Jesus.”
The arrest comes after a group of about 50 college students who call themselves the Dream Defenders marched from Daytona to Sanford over the three-day Easter weekend, and sat on the steps of the Sanford Police Station until it closed Monday.
The students called for the arrest of Zimmerman and for justice in their generation. The group has plans to occupy other locations and hold civil disobedience demonstrations.
Tensions continued to rise in Sanford on Tuesday: Someone shot up an unoccupied police car parked just across the street from the community where Martin was killed.
Questions continue to be asked about the fate of Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who stepped down temporarily, and his department’s handling of the case.
The court did not set bond at a hearing Thursday morning. Zimmerman, who looked tired and thin at the brief hearing, faces a formal arraignment on May 29 at 1:30 p.m.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said he is not asking for fees right now because he believes Zimmerman is indigent. Zimmerman, who did not enter a plea, is in protective custody.