Bond ruling expected for Trayvon Martin's killer

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jul 05, 2012 8:57 AM
Bond ruling expected for Trayvon Martin's killer

SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, will learn on Thursday whether he will be released on bond for a second time.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester spent nearly a week reviewing evidence submitted by defense lawyers at a June 29 bond hearing and a court spokeswoman said he will rule on Thursday.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford.

Martin's killing drew national attention because police initially failed to arrest Zimmerman. They cited 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.

Zimmerman was later arrested and released on $150,000 bond in April but the judge ordered him back to jail after finding Zimmerman and his wife had misled the court to believe they were indigent. At his first bond hearing on April 20, Zimmerman sat silently as his wife told the court the couple had no money.

Shellie Zimmerman was charged with perjury after investigators learned the couple had raised at least $135,000 from a PayPal account set up to collect donations for Zimmerman's legal defense and living expenses.

The two were recorded during jailhouse phone calls in which they discussed moving the money among accounts, transactions that prosecutors called a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda said that showed Zimmerman was untrustworthy.

Defense lawyer Mark O'Mara said Zimmerman posed no risk of harm to the community and should be released again on $150,000 bond.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)