Judge denies request to delay George Zimmerman murder trial
Hearing held in Trayvon Martin case
A judge on Tuesday denied a request to delay the murder trial for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford last February.
[PHOTOS: George Zimmerman appears in court]
Zimmerman's attorney, former Local 6 legal analyst Mark O'Mara, filed a motion last week seeking a six-month delay and saying he needed more time to raise money and to look over new evidence. He said in court on Tuesday that there's no benefit to Zimmerman -- or the state -- in delaying the trial but more time was needed to prepare.
"I need more time," O'Mara said. "We've been working really hard on it, but we need more time."
Judge Debra Nelson, however, denied the request, saying ample time had been provided -- and still remains -- for the defense to prepare for the trial.
"We're four months away from a trial date," Nelson said. " I don't see any of your issues to be insurmountable. The court has no reason to continue the case."
The trial remains on schedule to begin June 10.
The state had opposed the delay, asking the judge to reject O'Mara's request. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said the defense's heavy workload was caused by Zimmerman's additional legal problems created when he lied to a judge last year about his finances.
"That was brought about by the defendant and his wife lying to the court," de la Rionda said in court. "And the defense goes, "Whoa! That delayed our preparation!" Well, who created it?"
Nelson did grant Zimmerman permission to subpoena records from the Sanford 7-Eleven where Martin bought Skittles and iced tea shortly before his death. The defense was also granted access to Martin's cellphone data.
O'Mara also asked for background information about Martin's girlfriend, known as "Witness 8" who was reportedly on the phone with Martin just before he was shot. Witness 8 was interviewed by the Martin family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, and Zimmerman's lawyers want to question Crump about his interactions with the girl.
Crump postponed his deposition on Tuesday, arguing the interview might violate attorney-client privilege. He instead submitted a 12-page affidavit explaining how he located the girl by examining Martin's phone records. Crump said the girl didn't want to get involved in the case and talk to authorities and only submitted her statement over the phone, which was recorded.
The next scheduled court hearing in the case is set for March 5.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming he acted in self-defense.
Meanwhile, supporters of Martin gathered outside the Seminole County Courthouse on Tuesday to mark what would have been his 18th birthday.
The group sang songs, held signs and placed a picture of Martin on a walkway next to a wreath and black balloons.
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