A Florida judge has revoked the bond set for George Zimmerman, who is accused in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, because of inconsistencies in what he originally told the court about how much money he had for bail. He must surrender to authorities within 48 hours.
Assistant special prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told Judge Kenneth Lester that Zimmerman “misled and deceived” the courtroom during his April 20 bond hearing when speaking about his family’s financial abilities to pay for bail. In a motion put before the court on Friday, de la Rionda accused Zimmerman and his wife Shelley of lying about the money that had been collected for the defense. Originally, Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bond, but that was based on the belief that he had no money to post it. If the court had known the amount he had access to, de la Rionda argued, his bail would have been set much higher.
Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, admitted that more than $200,000 had been collected through a PayPal account before the bond hearing, but Zimmerman’s wife said nothing about it while being questioned. O’Mara argued that Zimmerman would not pose any kind of risk or danger if he were allowed to remain free, but Lester, unpersuaded, ordered Zimmerman to report back to the custody of Seminole County authorities.
In earlier developments, the defense and prosecution had tried to get Lester to agree to seal certain discovery evidence from public view, arguing that it could further complicate the case and prevent Zimmerman from receiving a fair trial. But Lester said his hands were tied because of unique laws in Florida that ensure that such things remain as transparent as possible. The best he could do is have the evidence released with certain information redacted, he said.
The issue of Zimmerman’s passport came up, with de la Rionda saying that Zimmerman misled the court on the existence of a second passport. (He turned in his original passport at his bond hearing.) Zimmerman said he did not have a second one, believing it was lost; it turned out to still be in his possession.
Lester excused the passport issue, likening it to the misplacement of a driver’s license. But he came down hard on the defense about the bond money, telling O’Mara that Zimmerman “can’t reap the benefit of a lower bond” based on false statements by him and his wife that they didn’t have the money for bond payment.
Zimmerman, 28, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting death of Martin, 17. The neighborhood-watch volunteer has maintained that the high schooler attacked him on a rainy evening as he approached Martin on suspicion of criminal activity. Prosecutors, however, say Martin was doing nothing more than returning from a convenience store when the two exchanged words and fought, which resulted in Zimmerman shooting Martin dead.