May 23, 2013
Florida judge revokes bail for Trayvon Martin Killer
A Florida judge on Friday revoked bail for George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder for killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., granting a motion from prosecutors that Zimmerman's bond be revoked, gave him 48 hours to surrender to the Seminole County Sheriff.
The judge's order, cancelling his release from behind bars on a $150,000 bond in April, came after prosecutors accused Zimmerman and his wife of lying to the court about their finances and the status of Zimmerman's passport.
The order was a surprising twist in a murder case that has riveted the United States and sparked widespread debate over guns, self-defense laws and US race relations.
Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, told reporters after the hearing that he would request another bond hearing for Zimmerman after he complies with the order to turn himself in.
Zimmerman, 28, is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Martin as he walked through a gated community in Sanford, Florida, near Orlando, on February 26.
Police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law, but the special prosecutor who was subsequently appointed charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors alleged in their bid to get Zimmerman's bond revoked that his wife knew about donations he had collected through a PayPal account for his defense, but had failed to mention the money at his bond hearing.
"The defendant's wife lied to this court," Prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda told the judge.
He was referring to the fact that Zimmerman had received about $200,000 from anonymous donors to fund his defense, even though his defense lawyer had previously described him as penniless.
De La Rionda also told the court that when Zimmerman surrendered his passport to the court at his April 20 bond hearing, he did so knowing that he had a second unexpired passport.
The motion to yank Zimmerman's bond cited transcripts of phone calls he made to his wife from the Seminole County jail on the facility's recorded phone lines.
The Zimmermans spoke "in code" about the money raised for his defense and Zimmerman instructed his wife to transfer money into her personal account, the motion said.