Sanford, Fla. When jurors begin deliberating in the racially charged murder trial of George Zimmerman, they'll also be able to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin.
The defense, which claims Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense, will give its closing arguments Friday, a day after the prosecution spent two hours summarizing its case.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. But because of the way Florida law imposes sentences for crimes committed with a gun, the lesser charge could also carry a life sentence.
Judge Debra Nelson's ruling to allow consideration of the manslaughter charge came despite the objections of Zimmerman's lawyers.