George Zimmerman’s booking photo from 6/3/2012 (Source: Seminole County Corrections).
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A judge says statements a former neighborhood watch leader made to detectives after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin can be released to the public.
But Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester ruled Wednesday that the identities of witnesses who observed the fatal confrontation between George Zimmerman and the 17-year-old Martin can stay private.
Lester's ruling was in response to a challenge news media groups, including The Associated Press, filed against efforts to seal some records.
Prosecutors and Zimmerman's defense attorney had wanted to keep private Zimmerman's statements to police after the fatal shooting in February, as well as the identities of witnesses. They had argued that their public release would jeopardize Zimmerman's chance of getting a fair hearing when he is tried for second-degree murder.
Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense.
Photo Gallery: Trayvon Martin photos
More Trayvon Martin stories:
NRA no longer silent on Trayvon Martin, Stand Your Ground law
George Zimmerman arrested, charged with second degree murder
Trayvon Martin songs flood YouTube
"Fake" Trayvon Martin picture circulates on the web
911 calls released
Racial slur uttered during call?
Trayvon Martin's death renews Stand Your Ground debate
Who is George Zimmerman?
George Zimmerman seeks donations on new website
Street sign hacked with hate message
New Black Panther Party touts reward, revenge
Father: Trayvon "saved my life"
Obama: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon"
Geraldo: Hoodie to blame for Trayvon's death
No grand jury for Trayvon Martin case
George Zimmerman's lawyers withdraw from case
Zimmerman back in jail, bond revoked
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)