FBI Considering Hate Crime Charge in Trayvon Martin Death

If Zimmerman is charged with a hate crime he could be punished by up to life in prison or even the death penalty.

By Jorge Rivas May 15, 2012

George Zimmerman, the volunteer neighborhood watchman from Florida charged in the killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, could face federal hate crime charges, Orlando’s[ WFTV reports.](http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/fbi-seeks-charge-george-zimmerman-hate-crime/nN5pR/) FBI investigators are actively questioning witnesses in the retreat at the Twin Lakes neighborhood, seeking evidence for a possible federal hate crime charge. If Zimmerman is convicted of the second-degree murder charge, he could face life in prison, but a hate crime charge could mean he would face the death penalty, WFTV reports. [WFTV](http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/fbi-seeks-charge-george-zimmerman-hate-crime/nN5pR/) legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said, "What the government would have to prove is that Mr. Zimmerman acted out of hatred toward African Americans. That’s why he came into contact with him. That’s why he shot and killed him."