No decision made in George Zimmerman bond hearing
Neighborhood watch leader charged with murder in Trayvon Martin's death
A judge has not yet ruled whether to issue bond to George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman faced Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester on Friday to ask for his release on bond for a second time. Lester said he needs more time to weigh the evidence in the case before issuing a decision. Lester said he will rule on Zimmerman's bond sometime next week and Zimmerman will remain jailed until the decision.
Zimmerman, who was released on bond the first time on April 20, arrived at the court around 9:30 a.m. clean-shaven, dressed in a gray suit with a purple tie and his hair longer and parted on the side from the last time he was seen in court.
O'Mara has asked for bond to be set at $150,000-the same bond Zimmerman was granted at his first bond hearing. He issued a statement on Zimmerman's defense website, GZLegalCase.com, saying, "evidence was introduced to the court to show the weaknesses in the State’s murder case against Mr. Zimmerman and to support Mr. Zimmerman’s consistently maintained position that he acted in self defense. Further, we submitted evidence through the testimony of a forensic expert verifying that all the money in question has been properly accounted for."
Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, took the stand for the first time and identified again that it was his son screaming in the background of a 911 call by Witness 11.
“Yes it was absolutely George’s,” Robert Zimmerman said. “It was your son?” Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara asked. “Yes,” Robert Zimmerman replied.
O'Mara said George Zimmerman had wanted to testify himself to explain his behavior, but O'Mara didn't want Zimmerman to be cross-examined. Lester said that wasn't possible and if Zimmerman took the stand the state could cross-examine.
“It has nothing to do with me, this is the court. This is the system.” Lester said. “If he wants to testify, there’s the stand.”
The parents of Trayvon Martin- Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin-sat in the second row in the courtroom with attorney Benjamin Crump, and Martin's brother.
The first matter of the hearing was from the media lawyers asking for the release of all jail calls, saying it's part of the discovery that should be released to the public. Lester said he would determine if he would release the rest of the calls at a later date.
Former Local 6 legal analyst O'Mara then discussed Zimmerman's financial state. O'Mara then called for a financial forensic specialist to discuss Zimmerman's financial situation.
Adam Magill, account business evaluation and litigation support, was called by O'Mara to examine Zimmerman's expenses by looking at the records on the money received by PayPal to the personal accounts of the Zimmermans, then to the GZ Legal Case accounts.
Magill said the PayPal account was active for 11-12 days, in which money amounts of under $10,000 was transferred back and forth with Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, because of the the PayPal rules. Magill said Shellie Zimmerman has spent $6,000 of the $9,000 she had. She has $3,000 remaining, according to Magill.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda cross-examined Magill, trying to show Shellie Zimmerman had $130,000 in her bank account the day before she testified at Zimmerman's first bond hearing that they had no money.
“You’re saying there was no intent to deceive?” de la Rionda asked Magill on the stand. Magill said it was a PayPal rule that kept them, not IRS rules. "Wouldn't you agree the transfers were a way to mislead the authorities?" de la Rionda asked. Magill didn't confirm that Zimmerman appeared to be trying to hide the money, but that the constant transfer of money gave the impression that it wasn't in the accounts.
When questioned about what Zimmerman's money was exactly used for, Magill said it wasn't abnormal-used for eating out, paying of debts. Magill testified that the Zimmermans spent $24,000 on debt payments and living expenses.
O'Mara then showed a video of Zimmerman from the day after the shooting as he gave investigators a reenactment of what happened the night of the shooting, appearing to be focusing on Zimmerman's injuries. One of the paramedics that treated Zimmerman that night was then called to the stand.
Kevin O’Rourke, a 10-year veteran with the Sanford Fire Department has been at Station No. 38 for about four years. He said he first looked at gunshot victim before checking out Zimmerman the night of Feb. 26. O'Rourke said Zimmerman was sitting in police car with legs out of vehicle. Zimmerman had blood on his face and back of head, covering about 45 percent of head and face, according to O'Rourke.
“Our job was to clean him up and treat his wounds,” O’Rourke said. “We requested he see a doctor in the next 24 hours because he probably needed stitches in his head.”
O'Mara tried to introduce Zimmerman's voice stress tests, which Zimmerman passed, at the bond hearing but Lester said it wasn't allowed. O'Mara introduced 7-Eleven video into evidence showing Martin the night of the shooting.
A probation officer took the stand and called Zimmerman a "model client."
Late Thursday, Lester decided to allow Zimmerman to appear in court free of shackles and in normal clothing. In Zimmerman's first hearing, he was allowed to wear civilian clothes but wore restraints.
Lester had previously questioned Zimmerman's respect for the law when he revoked his bond, saying his wife misled the court during his April 20 bond hearing, when they claimed they were broke, when in fact, they had more than $200,000 from donations.
Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, was arrested on perjury charges after she told the court she and her husband were broke, resulting in Lester allowing George Zimmerman to bond out of jail for $150,000.
Prosecutors later discovered Zimmerman's financial situation. The state obtained bank records showing Shellie Zimmerman transferred $121,000 among credit union accounts belonging to her, George Zimmerman and her husband's sister in the days before the April 20 bond hearing.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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