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George Zimmerman to ask for bond in Trayvon Martin case

George Zimmerman, right, appears for a bond hearing at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility April 12, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. The Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman in court to ask judge for bond in Trayvon Martin case
George Zimmerman, right, appears for a bond hearing at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility April 12, 2012, in Sanford, Fla.
The Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) SANFORD - George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, is asking a Florida judge to let him out of jail while he awaits trial.

Pictures: George Zimmerman charged with murder

According to legal experts, Zimmerman stands a good chance of being released on bail at the hearing Friday.

George Zimmerman's attorney will make the request at the hearing at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center. Two questions likely to be at the center of the proceedings are whether the accused killer would be allowed out of the country and how he would remain safe.

Family members of Zimmerman's are expected to testify by phone at the hearing. The Miami Herald reports Trayvon's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, are expected to be in court.

Legal experts say factors in Zimmerman's favor include that he has ties to the local community and that he doesn't appear to be a flight risk since he turned in voluntarily after charges were filed against him last week. He also has never been convicted of a crime, which would indicate he doesn't pose a threat to society.

"Although it's not routine for people charged with murder to get bond, they do get bond, and I think there is an excellent argument to be made in his specific case for him to be released on bond," said defense attorney Randy McClean, who practices in Seminole County, about 15 miles northeast of Orlando.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey may have to present evidence beyond the arrest affidavit for bond to be denied to Zimmerman. According to the newspaper, that evidence could include witness statements, photos or a confession, which would strengthen the state's case against the defendant.

A spokeswoman for Corey's office said Thursday she wouldn't comment on whether Corey would object to Zimmerman being released on bond.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara indicated he would ask that Zimmerman be allowed to leave the area, if he is granted bond, because of concerns about his safety. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester was assigned the case Wednesday after a previous judge removed herself from the case because of a potential conflict of interest.

Zimmerman is accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb 26. During a confrontation in Sanford, Florida.

Complete coverage of the Trayvon Martin case on CBS News

  • Crimesider Staff

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