Sunday, May 20, 2018

Zimmerman released on bail in Martin shooting

SANFORD — George Zimmerman was released around midnight Sunday from a county jail on $150,000 bail as he awaits his second-degree murder trial in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

The neighborhood watch volunteer was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans, and carrying a paper bag. He met a man in a white vehicle and drove away. His ultimate destination is being kept secret for his safety and it could be outside Florida.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said at a hearing Friday that Zimmerman cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. Zimmerman also surrendered his passport.

He had to put up 10 percent, or $15,000, to make bail. His father had indicated he might take out a second mortgage.

Zimmerman worked at a mortgage risk-management company at the time of the shooting and his wife is in nursing school. A website was set up to collect donations for a defense fund. It is unclear how much has been raised.

Zimmerman, 28, fatally shot Martin, 17, on Feb. 26 inside the gated community where Zimmerman lived. Martin was unarmed and was walking back to the home of his father's fiancee when Zimmerman saw him, called 911 and began following him. A fight broke out — investigators say it is unknown who started it.

Zimmerman says Martin, who was visiting from Miami, attacked him and he shot in self-defense, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives broad legal protection to anyone who says they used deadly force because they feared death or great bodily harm.

Zimmerman was not charged for over six weeks, sparking national protests led by Martin's parents, civil rights groups and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is from Peru.

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