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April 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM
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Zimmerman attorneys quit

SANFORD, Fla., April 10 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a Florida man claiming self-defense in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager backed out of the case Tuesday, saying he won't return their calls.

The Miami Herald reported attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said they had lost touch with George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since Trayvon Martin was killed, and Zimmerman had begun making moves without talking to them first.

Martin was shot and killed by the 28-year-old crime-watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford Feb. 26 as the 17-year-old was walking to the home of his father's girlfriend from a convenience store.

Zimmerman, who is white, told police he shot the black teen in self-defense, invoking Florida's so-called stand-your-ground law.

The lawyers, who had only a verbal agreement with their client, said Zimmerman made unilateral decisions to call special prosecutor Angela Corey and Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity.

"He won't even give me a collect call," Sonner told the Herald.


Ga. 'stand your ground' law challenged

ATLANTA, April 10 (UPI) -- In the wake of the fatal shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, a Georgia man is suing to have Georgia's "stand your ground law" done away with.

"Stand your ground" laws, on the books in several states, allow people to use what they believe to be reasonable, even deadly, force and claim self-defense if they feel threatened while out in public, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Michael Hutchins says in his suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta Monday, Georgia's law does not explicitly state what circumstances justify deadly force.

"It is not clear what actions would create 'reasonable belief' that deadly force is necessary," the suit reads. "An individual seeking to stand their ground and assert self-defense has no way of knowing if their 'reasonable belief' comports with the standards protected by the law and [they] want to ensure that they do not subject themselves to criminal penalties."

The suit goes on to say some courts have "accepted the race of a victim as evidence to establish the reasonableness of an individual's fear in cases of justifiable homicide."

"Stand your ground laws" have received national media attention lately, as George Zimmerman, 28, used Florida's statute to justify shooting Martin, an unarmed black teen, in a Sanford, Fla., gated community in late February.


Santorum drops out of GOP race

GETTYSBURG, Pa., April 10 (UPI) -- Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Rick Santorum suspended his campaign Tuesday, all but guaranteeing the nomination for rival Mitt Romney.

"It's over for me," Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, declared at a news conference in Gettysburg, Pa., two weeks ahead of that state's primary.

Santorum also stopped short short of endorsing Romney although he vowed to help defeat President Obama in November. The move saves Santorum from the embarrassment of a possible loss to the former Massachusetts governor in the April 24 balloting in his home state.

"We made a decision at our kitchen table to get into this race against all odds. We made a decision at our kitchen table this weekend to suspend this campaign," said Santorum, whose 3-year-old daughter Bella, had been hospitalized for several days before she was released Monday. Bella suffers from the rare genetic disorder Trisomy 18, which is generally fatal before or during birth.


Mine blast injures 22 soldiers

SUMISIP, Philippines, April 10 (UPI) -- A mine blast near Sumisip in the Basilan province of the Philippines injured 22 soldiers Tuesday, military officials said.

While conducting operations near a suspected camp of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, soldiers tripped the wires of several landmines, triggering a series of explosions about 8 a.m. Because the blast took place more than 800 yards away from a camp seized by the military last March, 104th Infantry Brigade Cmdr. Col. Ricardo Visaya believes Abu Sayyaf is behind the incident.

"This is a main camp," Visaya told ABS-CBNnews.com. "They bring their hostages here, so they have to fortify that. They have to build … strong defense with the use of IEDs [improvised explosive devices]."

GMA News reported seven of the soldiers who were in critical condition were airlifted to a hospital in Zamboanga City.

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