New motion for bail for Trayvon Martin's killer

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 25, 2012 1:32 PM
New motion for bail for Trayvon Martin's killer

MIAMI (Reuters) - Lawyers for the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin have asked for his release from jail for a second time on bond, despite lies told about his finances at a court hearing in April.

The request on behalf of George Zimmerman came in a motion filed with the Seminole County Circuit Court in central Florida on Monday, where a bond hearing for Zimmerman will be held on Friday.

"Mr. Zimmerman is still entitled to a reasonable bond notwithstanding the court's finding that Mr. Zimmerman failed to disclose the existence of the donated money at his last bond hearing," said the motion signed by Zimmerman's lead attorney.

He was referring to the fact that Zimmerman sat silently in court, during his original bond hearing on April 20, as his wife lied under oath about the couple's finances and claimed they had no real assets and were essentially broke.

Prosecutors later said Shellie Zimmerman was lying because the couple had raised at least $135,000 from a website created by Zimmerman to collect funds from anonymous donors for his legal defense.

At the first hearing, Zimmerman was granted a $150,000 bond but it was revoked earlier this month and he was ordered back into custody. His wife, Shellie, was arrested and charged with perjury.

"Mr. Zimmerman's failure to advise the court of the existence of the donated funds at the initial bond hearing was wrong and Mr. Zimmerman accepts responsibility for his part in allowing the court to be misled as to his true financial circumstances," the motion said.

It said the money in the defense fund had since been turned over to an independent administrator, however, and that Zimmerman no longer had any direct access to it.

The motion said Zimmerman posed no risk of harm to the community and should be released for a second time on bail pending his trial on second-degree murder charges.

The charges stem from the shooting death of the 17-year-old Martin during a confrontation he had with Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, on February 26.

The killing grabbed national attention because police initially failed to arrest Zimmerman. That failure stemmed from Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law and Zimmerman's claim that he used deadly force because he believed his life was being threatened by Martin.

(Reporting By Tom Brown; Editing by Eric Walsh)