Florida judge orders Zimmerman back to jail

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, June 1, 2012 15:12 EDT
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Police booking photographs released by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday shows George Zimmerman after being taken into custody. Prosecutors Wednesday charged a neighborhood watch guard with second-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed US black teenager that sparked nationwide anger amid suspicions it was racially motivated. (AFP Photo/)
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At a hearing Friday afternoon, Seminole County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. revoked a bond keeping George Zimmerman out of jail, giving him 48 hours to surrender to authorities and return to jail pending his criminal trial.

Prosecutors claimed that Zimmerman had “misrepresented” his financial situation and “deceived the court” over his possession of a second U.S. passport, which they said could help him flee the country.

“The court was led to believe that they didn’t have a single penny,” prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda said during Friday’s hearing, according to ABC News. “If this [the money] wasn’t relevant to bond then why did they lie about it? I don’t know what other words to use besides that it was a blatant lie.”

A recording of Zimmerman talking about his second passport was also played in the courtroom, although the prosecution later admitted that simply having a second passport is not suspicious in and of itself.

Zimmerman’s attorneys also joined with prosecutors to ask that the court seal certain records pertaining to the case to keep their client from being tried in the media. A collection of more than a dozen media organizations has asked that the records be unsealed.

The 28-year-old Florida man is accused of second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, in a case that’s sparked national outrage.

Zimmerman, an erstwhile neighborhood watchman who appeared to have a cozy relationship with police, admitted he shot and killed Martin as the boy walked home from a nearby store after purchasing candy and a drink.

Zimmerman’s defense hinges upon his claim of self defense. Florida law permits lethal force in cases where an individual fears that their life may be in danger, and Zimmerman claims that he was attacked by Martin, suffering a broken nose and cuts to his head in the ensuing scuffle.

Although Zimmerman was taken into custody, his arrest did not come until 44 days later. At a recent bond hearing, his family members testified that they were broke, and the judge set a $150,000 bond. Zimmerman’s attorneys revealed days later that the family had raised more than $200,000 from a website dedicated to the man’s defense, sparking the second bond hearing.

The murder trial is not expected to begin any time soon.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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