Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zimmerman to make first court appearance

SANFORD, Fla. — Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman barely spoke a word and showed little emotion during his first courtroom appearance since being charged with murder.

Dressed in a gray jail jump suit, Zimmerman, 28, looked straight ahead and said, “yes, sir,” to basic questions asked of him by Seminole County Judge Mark Herr.

Zimmerman’s arraignment was set for May 29, when he’ll likely plead not guilty to second-degree murder for the death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

“He’s tired — he’s going through some tribulation of his own, being the focus of the intensity of this event,” defense lawyer Mark O’Mara said outside court, following the four-minute hearing.

“He’s frightened.”
George Zimmerman appears for a bond hearing in Sanford, Florida today.

Zimmerman gunned down Martin on Feb. 26 after confronting the 17-year-old inside a gated community.
Martin and his dad were visiting the elder’s girlfriend. They planned to watch the NBA All-Star game and Martin went to a local store to buy a bag of Skittles.

It was during Martin’s return when the neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman spotted him and called 911.

Zimmerman, whose dad is white and mom is Peruvian, described Martin as a young African American acting suspiciously.

Minutes later, Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman and cops initially accepted his story that he was acted out of self-defense.

Martin’s slaying and local police handling of the case sparked a national outcry, leading to the appointment of special prosecutor Angela Corey, who filed charges against Zimmerman.

“He is concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation,” O’Mara said. “He is a client who has a lot of hatred focused on him. I’m hoping the hatred settles down … He has the right to his own safety and the case being tried before a judge and jury.”

In the proforma courtroom move, Judge Herr found there was probable cause to move the case along.
Zimmerman — his head shaved down to stubble and sporting a thin goatee — had been in hiding before his arrest and court appearance today.

O’Mara declined to detail how he’d argue that Zimmerman should be protected by Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which gives wide latitude to citizens to use lethal force if they feel threatened.
O’Mara offered his condolences to Martin’s parents and loved ones.

“They lost their son we are not going to be using words against the mother of a deceased child,” he said.
Zimmerman is being held without bail, but his lawyer said the 28-year-old will make a bond application in the next few weeks.

Zimmerman is in protective custody, O’Mara said.

Zimmerman faces up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

Earlier in the day, Martin’s mom Sybrina Fulton called her son’s slaying an “accident.”

“I believe it was an accident,” Fulton told NBC’s “Today” show. “I believe that it just got out of control, and he couldn’t turn the clock back. I would ask him, did he know that that was a minor, that that was a teenager and that he did not have a weapon? I would ask him that I understand that his family is hurting, but think about our family that lost our teenage son. I mean, it’s just very difficult to live with day in and day out. I’m sure his parents can pick up the phone and call him, but we can’t pick up the phone and call Trayvon anymore.”

Later, she clarified the comment.

“Their meeting was the accident,” Fulton said. “That was the accident. Not the actual act of him shooting him. That was murder … They were never supposed to meet.”
Read more at The NY Post

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