The family of a teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer has reached a settlement in a wrongful death claim they filed against the homeowner’s association of the gated community where their son was killed.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that lawyers for Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, filed the paperwork in Seminole County and that portions of it were made available for public review Friday.
At the time of the shooting, Mr. Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch captain at the Retreat at Twin Lakes development in Sanford, about 30 miles north of Orlando, Florida, where he lived with his wife.
Martin was shot to death just steps from his father’s home on February 26, 2012 during a confrontation with Zimmerman.
A homeowner’s association newsletter sent to residents in February 2012, the same month the shooting occurred, cited Mr. Zimmerman as the person to contact for neighborhood watch issues. The newsletter suggested that if concerns arose, they call the police first and then alert Mr. Zimmerman.
The case drew national attention as the Sanford Police Department vacillated on whether to file charges against Zimmerman, who indicated that he had shot Martin only after being attacked and was acting in self-defense. Martin’s family claims he targeted the unarmed 17-year-old because he was black. It was noted that Zimmerman’s parents are white and Hispanic. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
Due to more than a month’s delay in the arrest of Zimmerman, protests took place nationwide in this racially charged case.
According to the five-page agreement, Trayvon Martin’s parents and his estate agreed to set aside their wrongful-death claim against the neighborhood group, as well as claims for pain and suffering, loss of earnings and expenses, the Sentinel reported.
Portions of the settlement released Friday do not specify how much money Martin’s family will receive, but according to the Sentinel, the figure is believed to be in excess of $1 million. The settlement states, however, that Zimmerman is not part of the agreement. Lawyers for Martin’s family have made it clear that they still plan to file a civil claim against Zimmerman at a later date. The settlement specified that Zimmerman was not part of the homeowner’s association’s deal.
Earlier this year, the Martin family and the homeowner’s association tried to settle the lawsuit through mediation but talks fell apart after Mr. Martin’s parents rejected a $1 million offer. Negotiations later resumed and the two sides eventually reached an agreement.
The association’s insurer, Travelers Casualty and Surety Co of America, filed suit in federal court in August, asking a judge to clarify its liability in the case, but that suit was dropped in November.
It is alleged that on February 26, 2012, Mr. Zimmerman spotted Trayvon Martin walking inside the gated Retreat at Twin Lakes community, with a hoodie pulled over his head, stated to ward off the rain. Mr. Zimmerman alleged that he called police and described Mr. Martin as suspicious, adding that it looked like “he was up to no good.” The police told Mr. Zimmerman to stay put, but Mr. Zimmerman got out of his SUV and followed Mr. Martin as the teen walked toward his father’s girlfriend’s house, where he was staying.
Soon after, Mr. Martin tackled Zimmerman and started to punch him and slam his head against the sidewalk, Mr. Zimmerman told the police. Mr. Zimmerman reached for his gun and shot Mr. Martin in the chest, killing him with one bullet. Mr. Martin did not have a gun.
Mr. Zimmerman, who remains on bail, is scheduled to go on trial in June, charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman has stated that he shot Mr. Martin in self-defense. Jury selection in Zimmerman’s criminal case is scheduled to begin on June 10th.
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