New judge named in George Zimmerman case

Kenneth Lester will preside over Trayvon Martin shooting death case


SANFORD, Fla. – Judge Kenneth M. Lester Jr. will now preside over the George Zimmerman case after another judge also had a conflict.

Judge John D. Galluzo filed a notice of conflict because of prior business and a personal relationship with Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, according to the release. Local 6 has learned O'Mara is the godfather of one of Galluzo's sons.

A bond hearing for Zimmerman will be held at 9 a.m. Friday. Judge Jessica Recksiedler disqualified herself Wednesday after O'Mara filed for her recusal on Monday. Recksiedler's husband works for the law firm of Mark NeJame, who recommended Zimmerman to O'Mara.

Lester, 58, is a former defense attorney who was elected as a circuit court judge in 1996 and re-elected for subsequent terms without opposition.

Lester graduated from University of Florida with his law degree and got his bachelor's and master's degrees at University of Central Florida. He has been married to Dorothy Sedgwick for 29 years and has two children.

Lester had 16 years of experience in private law practice in criminal and family law before beginning his judicial career.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, 28, remains jailed in the fatal shooting, which occurred the night of Feb. 26 in Sanford.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, claims the shooting was in self-defense, but state prosecutors say he profiled the teen and was the aggressor in the shooting.

Zimmerman was not immediately arrested because police, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law, said there was no evidence to refute his claim of self-defense.

The law came under fire, and the lack of an immediate arrest in the shooting prompted marches, rallies and protests in Sanford and across the country.

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