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George Zimmerman bail hearing set for April 20, lawyer says

George Zimmerman made his first court appearance since being charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin. Mark Strassmann spoke with his attorney, who is concerned about getting a fair trial.

Attorney: Geroge Zimmerman is "very frightened"
George Zimmerman made his first court appearance since being charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin. Mark Strassmann spoke with his attorney, who is concerned about getting a fair trial.
(CBS/AP) SANFORD, Fla. - George Zimmerman, charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, will appear in court on April 20 for a hearing to determine if he will be allowed to post bail and leave jail, said his attorney.

Pictures: George Zimmerman charged with murder

On Thursday, 28-year-old Zimmerman appeared in jailhouse garb with his hands shackled in front of him during a four-minute hearing.

"He is tired. He has gone through some tribulations," said Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara after the court appearance. "He is facing second-degree murder charges now. He is frightened. That would frighten any of us."

Zimmerman did not enter a plea during the hearing, although O'Mara previously said his client will plead not guilty. Zimmerman will be able to enter a plea at his May 29 arraignment.

O'Mara is expected to ask the judge for a hearing to determine whether Zimmerman acted under Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law, which gives people a broad right to use deadly force when they feel threatened.

"It is going to be a facet of this defense, I'm sure," he said in an interview. "That statute has some troublesome portions to it, and we're now going to have some conversations and discussions about it as a state. But right now it is the law of Florida and it is the law that is going to have an impact on this case."

For all the relief among civil rights activists over the arrest, legal experts warned there is a real chance the case could get thrown out before it ever goes to trial because of the "stand your ground" law.

At a pretrial hearing, Zimmerman's lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence - a relatively low legal standard - that he acted in self-defense in order to get a judge to toss out the second-murder charges. If the case goes to trial, the defense can raise the argument there.

Complete coverage of the Trayvon Martin case on CBS News

  • Crimesider Staff

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