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Trayvon Martin's killer will not seek key pre-trial hearing: attorney

George Zimmerman arrives with his lead counsel, Mark O'Mara (L) for a hearing in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida February 5, 2013
George Zimmerman arrives with his lead counsel, Mark O'Mara (L) for a hearing in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida February 5, 2013

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The Florida man charged in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin will not seek a special pre-trial hearing to try to get the murder charge he faces dropped on grounds of self defense, his attorney said on Tuesday.

Lawyer Mark O'Mara had hinted, but never confirmed, that he would pursue a pre-trial ruling barring the prosecution of former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman under Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

The law, passed under former Republican Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, allows people to use lethal force in self defense if they are in fear of serious bodily harm. More than 20 states have since passed similar laws.

In court on Tuesday, O'Mara told Judge Debra Nelson he would not pursue the Stand Your Ground hearing, for which two weeks in April had been set aside.

Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Martin in the Orlando suburb of Sanford on February 26, 2012, and initially went free based on his claims of self defense. A national outcry forced the city's police chief to resign and the governor to appoint a special prosecutor.

He now faces second-degree murder charges and a June trial.

However, O'Mara is not waiving Zimmerman's right to seek immunity under the self-defense statute, according to his spokesman Shawn Vincent.

O'Mara might still ask the judge to rule that Zimmerman is immune from prosecution after both sides have presented evidence at trial, which is set to start June 10, Vincent said.

(Editing by Tom Brown, Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)

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