According to multiple reports, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman will be charged this afternoon in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Special prosecutor Angela Corey will make the announcement. There is no word yet on what charge Zimmerman will face, either second-degree murder or manslaughter. Corey could not file first-degree murder charges because she did not impanel a grand jury, a requirement for that charge in Florida.

The Washington Post was the first to report the expected charges. NBC News later followed up.

Corey told reporters Tuesday night that she would hold a news conference about the case within 72 hours. A news release from her office said the event will be held in Sanford or Jacksonville, Fla [...]

The announcement of a charge against Zimmerman would come a day after Zimmerman’s attorneys withdrew from the case, citing their inability to contact Zimmerman.

Lawyers Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig on Tuesday expressed concern about Zimmerman’s emotional and physical well-being, saying he has taken actions without consulting them. They also said they do not know where Zimmerman is.

“You can stop looking in Florida,” Uhrig told reporters. “Look much further away than that.”

So presumably, Corey and law enforcement in Florida will have to track down Zimmerman and bring him into custody. Barricades have been set up along the booking area in Sanford, however. Corey’s news conference is expected in Jacksonville at 6:05pm ET today.

When Trayvon Martin was pursued inside a gated community, shot and killed 44 days ago, there was no sense that there would be any national attention paid to the crime. For weeks, despite the lack of charges for the man who admitted to pulling the trigger, nobody paid much attention to the Martin case. Eventually, the spectacle of an unarmed black teen, carrying only a bag of Skittles and an iced tea, being shot and killed, and the police department letting the shooter walk free, became symptomatic of our still-unresolved issues of race in America. Activists at the grassroots level began to raise awareness. And without it, I don’t think you’d see these charges filed today, whatever they may be.

It is presumed that Zimmerman will cite self-defense and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in the case, provided he gets lawyers at some point equipped to defend him. The Stand Your Ground law, modeled by ALEC and bankrolled by the NRA, allows registered gun owners to stand their ground and use deadly force if they feel threatened. Zimmerman contends that he was attacked and assaulted by Martin shortly before shooting him.

The Justice Department also has an open investigation in the Martin case, and Attorney General Eric Holder said today that his office would pursue the case, though it faced a “very high barrier” in bringing federal hate crimes charges against Zimmerman. Holder also said:

“As a parent, I reacted to it,” he said. “This is a pain that no parent should have to endure. The notion of having to bury a child is something that is, I think in some ways for a parent, the ultimate pain. The primary responsibility we have in the Justice Department is to support the state in its ongoing investigation, to do our own thorough and parallel investigation which we are in the process of doing and try to resolve this matter in as fair and complete a way and as quickly as we can.”

…the question now becomes: When will Sean Hannity testify?