In the 1967 movie "In the Heat of the Night", Rod Steiger's character utters a phrase that has stayed with me for all these years. "I've got a motive which is money and a body which is dead!" For some reason, this phrase comes to mind when thinking about Trayvon Martin. Not so much the motive part, but the part about the body, which is dead. It's been over a month since this 17 year old took a bullet to the chest. George Zimmerman, an armed neighborhood watch volunteer, has admitted shooting him. However, nothing about this situation speaks to normal police procedure, and justice for Trayvon's family still seems distant.
The latest developments read like a novel. Zimmerman's lawyers held a press conference Tuesday, to announce they were withdrawing as his legal representatives. They said they hadn't been in contact with him since Sunday, and Zimmerman wasn't returning their texts, e-mails, or phone calls. In the interim, their (former) client set up a Website seeking donations, had an off the record conversation with Sean Hannity, and contacted the office of special prosecutor Angela Corey. The attorneys, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, then proceeded to comment on Zimmerman's mental state, describing him as stressed out. They also hinted he may have left the state of Florida, posing a thorny problem for special prosecutor Corey.
First things first. The lawyers should have kept their mouths shut if they truly had Zimmerman's best interest at heart. They could have bowed out without holding a press conference, which only made them seem self serving. Beyond that, however, is the one elusive word seems to have gotten lost in the drams. That word is justice. Angela Corey says she'll release new information in a couple of days. We don't know if that new information means George Zimmerman will be arrested and charged with any crime. That would be the first baby step toward easing the pain of Trayvon Martin's parents. Debates about race won't do it. Determining if Zimmerman is white or Hispanic (he's both), or whether he's Jewish (he's Catholic) won't do it either.
We don't yet have a motive, but we sure have a body, which is dead, and will be to all eternity. We've seen as this case has evolved extraordinary gestures of sympathy, compassion, anger, rage, racism, and yes, just plain stupidity.
When will we have justice? You tell me.
UPDATE: Special prosecutor Angela Corey announced late this afternoon that second degree murder charges aill be rbought against George Zimmerman. This is the first step toward justice mentioned above.
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