Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

George Zimmerman's second bond hearing more confrontational

SANFORD — A bond hearing took more a tone of a trial Friday when both sides in the Trayvon Martin murder case presented what sounded like opening statements with the defense quizzing witnesses and trying to poke holes in the prosecution's evidence.

Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old in February. He is in jail after a judge revoked his $150,000 bond because he ruled Zimmerman and his wife lied about their finances.

He's asking the same judge to again let him out on bail, and during a second lengthy hearing, Zimmerman's lawyer sparred with prosecutors over those finances and questioned why his client is in jail at all, arguing that Martin's actions led to his death.

It concluded with the judge saying he would need more time to decide whether to grant Zimmerman bail again.

It was the latest in what will certainly be a string of minitrials going forward as Zimmerman's attorneys try to rehabilitate his credibility. In a case where he's claiming protection under Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law, his believability will be at the heart of the case. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara ultimately decided against calling his client to the stand Friday, unlike the first bond hearing in which Zimmerman apologized to Martin's family.

He did call Zimmerman's father to testify, and played a chilling 911 call from the Feb. 26 night when Martin was killed. A call that includes a disputed cry for help and the fatal gunshot. Robert Zimmerman said he was sure that was his son's cry.

"This prosecutor has made a very specific showing that this case is strong," O'Mara said. "It was important for us to counter that."

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester trudged through it all, and now has to go over eight to 10 hours of evidence submitted by the defense.

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Published: 02/24/18