Trayvon Martin Case: No immediate ruling on George Zimmerman bond
(CBS/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida judge is weighing whether to allow George Zimmerman to be released from jail on bond after a hearing on Friday morning. Court officials say he may not make his decision today.
This is the second time Zimmerman has requested to be let out of jail while he awaits trial for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman's $150,000 bond earlier this month when prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about how much money they had during an April bond hearing. Prosecutors said Zimmerman created a website for his legal defense that had raised $135,000 at the time of his first bond hearing, but they failed to mention it.
Dressed in a gray suit with his hair grown longer and parted on the site, Zimmerman sat quietly throughout the proceeding.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked for a $150,000 bond, while the state asked the court to keep the defendant behind bars without bond.
O'Mara argued in court papers that his client is no threat to the public and proved he wasn't a flight risk by returning to jail when his bond was revoked. O'Mara admitted that when Shellie Zimmerman testified that the couple had no assets, his client could have said that she was not telling the whole truth.
"He should have done something and he didn't," said O'Mara. However, argued O'Mara, "it was not the grand conspiracy the state seems to suggest."
But Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda disagreed, saying, "Ms Zimmerman lied to the court and the defendant sat there and let it happen."
At the hearing, O'Mara introduced a variety of evidence, including financial statements and 911 recordings from the night Martin was shot. He also called several witnesses, including an EMT who attended to Zimmerman's wounds, Zimmerman's probation officer, and his father, Robert Zimmerman.
Robert Zimmerman testified that the scream heard on a 911 call was "was absolutely George's" voice.
According to a CBS affiliate WKMG legal analyst Luis Calderon, in calling these witnesses, O'Mara may have been trying to raise reasonable doubt that his client is not guilty and should thus be granted bond based on his presumed innocence. O'Mara called the state's case "extraordinarily weak."
O'Mara also called Adam Magill, a forensic accountant, to the stand to discuss his evaluation of the defendant's finances, specifically the funds that came in through PayPal from Zimmerman's online defense fund.
Magill testified that between approximately April 9 -25, the Zimmerman online legal defense fund collected a net total of $197,567.91 and that those funds were transferred into Zimmerman's account and then transferred back and forth between he and his wife's accounts. He testified that the bulk of the money - approximately $125,000 - was sent to O'Mara to be put into a trust account, and that about $11,000 was used to pay off credit cards and loans.
O'Mara told the judge that Zimmerman no longer has control over the trust account.
The prosecution alleged that the Zimmermans misled the court and tried to transfer funds in small amounts in order to avoid detection, but Magill said that PayPal does not allow transfers of $10,000 or more.
"They tried to transfer a larger dollar amount but PayPal denied it," testified Magill. "They tried three times."
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, Magill admitted that one reason Zimmerman might have transferred money to his sister was in order to make it look like the couple had less money than they actually did at Zimmerman's first bond hearing.
The bottom line, said de la Rionda, was that on April 20 - the day of Zimmerman's first bond hearing - there was over a $100,000 in the Zimmerman's account.
Moving on from the financial testimony, the defense called Sanford firefighter and EMT Kevin O'Rourke, who attended to Zimmerman on the night of the shooting. O'Rourke testified that Zimmerman's face was approximately 45 percent covered in blood when he first encountered him and that he spent "about five minutes" cleaning his head wounds before recommending that Zimmerman be seen by a doctor because he might need stitches.
O'Mara also called Zimmerman's probation officer to the stand, who testified that Zimmerman complied fully with his probation requirements and was "polite and courteous."
"We never had any problems with Mr. Zimmerman while he was under our supervision," said the officer. "For all intents and purposes he was a model client."
The court also addressed other matters involving the release of evidence. Mark O'Mara asked the judge to consider not disclosing all of Zimmerman's jailhouse calls. Several conversations between Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, were made available to the public earlier this week. The state argued that the calls are subject to public disclosure.
The attorneys also discussed the statement of so-called "Witness 9." The defense asked the court not to make that statement public, and the prosecution agreed. But attorneys representing various media entities argued that the statement is a public record and should be released.