Saturday, December 16, 2017

George Zimmerman to stay on 24-hour monitor

SANFORD — George Zimmerman must remain under 24-hour GPS monitoring while awaiting trial in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin and must stay in the county despite the defense's concerns about his safety, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The defense presented a lengthy bond modification argument to Judge Debra Nelson that included Zimmerman's probation officer testifying that the former neighborhood watch volunteer was complying with all terms of his release on a $1 million bond.

Following a rebuttal by the prosecutors, Nelson, without explanation, denied the request for modification of the bond terms.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Martin, 17, following an altercation in Sanford in February. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Besides dropping the monitoring, the defense also wanted Zimmerman to be able to live outside the Seminole County jurisdiction where the shooting took place because of what defense attorney Mark O'Mara said were ongoing concerns about his safety.

Zimmerman was previously granted permission to make limited travel to Orange County to meet his attorneys. That remains in place.

The 29-year-old's bond restrictions were put in place by former Judge Kenneth Lester. Lester revoked his original bond in June after ruling Zimmerman and his wife had misled the court about their finances when his bail was set in April at $150,000. It was eventually raised to $1 million and the additional GPS restrictions were put in place.

Nelson has set a trial date for June 10. She also set a "stand your ground" hearing 45 days before trial where Zimmerman can argue it was self-defense and ask the judge to drop the charges.

The judge also set aside hearing dates in January, February and March for any outstanding pretrial matters.

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