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Self-defense? Trayvon Martin was using cellphone, attorney says

March 20, 2012|By Rene Lynch

Florida teen Trayvon Martin was apparently chatting on a cellphone with his 16-year-old girlfriend when he was confronted -- and then killed -- by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain. That call, says the attorney for the slain 17-year-old's family, is proof that the man did not fire in self-defense but was actually the aggressor.

Martin's Feb. 26 shooting death has been propelled onto the national stage, fueled in part by social media outrage over the unfolding facts in the case. The latest details to emerge are likely to fuel that outrage.

An attorney for the slain teen's family held a news conference Tuesday to present cellphone records that he says prove Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend at the time he was confronted in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman, 28.

The girl, whose family did not want her to be named, told ABC News that she was talking to Martin when he said he believed he was being followed. "He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on," the girl said. She then heard Trayvon say to the man, "What are you following me for?" The man then reportedly said, "What are you doing around here?"

The girl said she believes somebody then pushed Martin because she heard his earpiece fall, and then the line went dead.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI have launched a probe of the shooting, and Seminole County state attorney Norm Wolfinger announced Tuesday that he would bring the case before a grand jury next month. If Martin's girlfriend testifies about what she heard that day, it could potentially undermine Zimmerman's claim to police that he opened fire on Martin because he feared for his own safety.

The case has taken on racial overtones because Zimmerman had contacted police to alert them to Martin's presence in the neighborhood, reporting him as a young black male who was acting suspiciously.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Martin family, urged immediate action. He said at the news conference that he wants Zimmerman arrested -- now -- for "killing Trayvon Martin in cold blood."

"The dots have all been connected," Crump told the media. "We don't understand how he's not arrested. The family worries that the more time passes it will be swept under the rug."

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