Local 6 legal expert Mark O'Mara now representing George Zimmerman

Neighborhood watchman shot, killed teen in Sanford

Published On: Apr 11 2012 05:54:26 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 11 2012 08:21:33 PM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Attorney Mark O'Mara, who was a legal expert for Local 6 in the Casey Anthony murder trial and the ongoing Trayvon Martin death investigation, is now representing George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed the teen in Sanford.

Zimmerman was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in Martin's death.

O'Mara said Zimmerman will plead not guilty and asked that people not jump to conclusions about his client's guilt. O'Mara said he's "hoping that the community will calm down" now that charges have been filed and the case is moving forward.

"I'm expecting a lot of work and hopefully justice in the end," said O'Mara, who added that Zimmerman is OK but concerned about his future.  "He's frightened."

O'Mara said he spoke to Zimmerman on the phone earlier in the day.

"He is troubled by everything that has happened, and I can’t imagine living in Geroge Zimmerman's shoes for the past number of weeks, only because he has been the focus of anger, confusion and hatred, and that has to be difficult," O'Mara said.

O'Mara, who's been practicing law for 30 years, said he's tried "stand your ground" cases in the past but added that he has a lot of work to do in this case.

"Quite honestly, I have not been involved in the case very long.  I probably know as much as the media does, if not less," he said.  "My hope is that the judge will grant a bond and that it is a bond the family can make."

Zimmerman's former attorneys, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, announced Tuesday they were stepping down from the case because they had not had any contact with Zimmerman since Sunday.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and is typically charged when there is a fight or other confrontation that results in death and where there is no premeditated plan to kill someone.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.