Judge orders release of more evidence in George Zimmerman case

Judge Kenneth Lester says evidence will be released in 15 days


SANFORD, Fla. – A judge has ordered the release of additional evidence in the case of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

Local 6 has obtained the six-page order, which was issued on Tuesday by Judge Kenneth Lester, who has ruled that the evidence must be released within 15 days.

The evidence will include what Zimmerman told police the night of the Feb. 26 fatal shooting, witness testimony and emails sent to the Sanford Police Department about the case.

Lester wrote in the order that Zimmerman's statements to police aren't confessions and they must be released to the public. Zimmerman gave at least three recorded statements, one of them a video reenactment of how he claims Martin attacked him.

Lester said Zimmerman doesn't admit to anything, other than shooting Martin.

The witness names and addresses will be redacted, according to the order.

"The world has changed," Lester wrote int he order, saying that Internet access has given so many people so much access to public information, that some of it should no longer be public.

Lester said potential witness harassment is a "serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice." He cited the meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's body was vilified by Casey Anthony's defense team and had his minor criminal past "trumpeted to the world," though records should it was Anthony's attorneys who first published that in the court filings.

Lester also blocked access to Zimmerman's cellphone records, except the date and time of the calls to Sanford police.

Both the prosecution and Zimmerman's attorney had wanted to block the release of the new evidence, including statements Zimmerman made to police, pictures of the crime scene, names of witnesses and cellphone records. Prosecutors said Zimmerman's statements are inconsistent and would jeopardize his chance of a fair trial.

But Lester said at the June 2 hearing the law "favors full, complete and open disclosure." Lester had said he would "review, redact and release items in question."

Zimmerman will be in court next on June 29 for his second bond hearing. His bond was revoked at the June 1 evidence hearing after prosecutors say Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court on his finances during an April bail hearing that allowed his release on $150,000 bond.

Shellie Zimmerman was arrested and posted bond on Tuesday on perjury charges.

He faces second-degree murder charges in Martin's death. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.Watch Local 6 for more on this story.