The case has drawn attention nationwide. In March, St. Sabina church on Chicago's South Side held vigils for Martin. They joined thousands of people throughout the country who demanded charges for Zimmerman.
Hours after a charge of murder was filed, Zimmerman, with his head covered, arrived at the Seminole County Jail under heavy police guard. Special prosecutor Angela Corey insists her decision to charge Zimmerman for the death of Martin was not influenced by the publicity surrounding the case.
"We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We prosecute based on the facts of any given case as well as the laws of the state of Florida," she said.
"We simply wanted an arrest. We wanted nothing more, nothing less. We just wanted an arrest and we got it, and I say thank you. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus," said Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton.
Zimmerman had been in hiding somewhere since the shooting February 26 in Sanford, Florida. The neighborhood watch volunteer claims that he shot the unarmed 17-year-old in self-defense.
"He is concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation. There has obviously been a lot of information flowing. I think a lot of it has been premature and maybe inappropriate," said Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara.
Martin's death sparked protests around the country, including a number in the Chicago area. On Wednesday night, a rally for Martin was held at Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana.
"I want this to symbolize my grief and anger. Your death will not go in vain. I pray your family grieves no longer and realizes that you are no longer in pain," said one speaker at the university rally.
Zimmerman's attorney says he will be seeking his release Thursday when he asks for bond.