Just a few short days after being acquitted of second degree murder, George Zimmerman is back in the news. ABC News is reporting that the 29 year old rescued a victim who was trapped in an overturned truck. The truck had rolled over near the intersection of I-4 and route 417, about a mile from where Zimmerman fatally shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
Zimmerman has been in hiding since receiving his not guilty verdict. His case and subsequent acquittal have stoked racial tensions across the country, with some calling for vigilante justice against the former neighborhood watchman. For that reason, Zimmerman has had to remain hidden.
Zimmerman has received numerous death threats since being released. He has had to wear a bulletproof vest when venturing out in public. Zimmerman is not alone though, as his parents, lawyers, and even the Sanford Police Chief have received death threats as well.
George Zimmerman, the man charged with second degree murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin last year, will now also face a lesser charge of manslaughter. The prosecution sought the additional charges, which also include felony murder in the third degree and child abuse as the underlying felony. The judge decided to allow the manslaughter charges to be considered today.
Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. He claims the act was in self defense. The two got into a confrontation after Zimmerman followed the teenager through the neighborhood. The altercation ended when Zimmerman shot Martin, and blow that ended up killing the boy.
Due to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, lethal force is allowed to be used in self defense. The prosecution has been tasked in proving that Zimmerman’s actions were not in self defense. The case has revealed a grey area in these types of self defense laws, as Zimmerman seemingly instigated the incident and resorted to deadly force when the altercation did not go his way.
Zimmerman plead not guilty via his self defense claim. If found guilty of second degree murder, he could face life in prison. The prosecution is set to deliver its closing arguments today. The defense will give its closing arguments tomorrow morning.
Shocking new allegations have been made about George Zimmerman. An old family friend, whose identity has not been revealed and is only known as Witness 9, has come forth and accused the 28 year old of molesting her when the two were children. The incidents occurred at Zimmerman’s family home when the two were children, starting when she was 6 and he was 8. Their two families were close, usually meeting up at least once a year. She alleges the attacks continued until she was 16.
The woman came forth about a month after Trayvon Martin’s murder. She claims Zimmerman had made racist comments in the past, and she feared he killed Martin because he was black. The woman also claims that she was not the only victim.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, doesn’t believe the testimony will be used in the trial as it was uncorroborated. O’Mara had fought to keep this information sealed, as he felt it would stoke anger against his client. The judge in the case rejected these calls, and audio tapes of the interview the female victim gave a little over a month after Trayvon was shot are now public.
The more damaging portion of the woman’s testimony comes from her claim that Zimmerman’s family was littered with racists, particularly his Peruvian mother. The woman is the second person to come forward with such claims against Zimmerman’s family. This flies in the face of what investigators have concluded about the Trayvon Martin incident. Their findings suggest that race had nothing to do with the teenager’s shooting, but that it was an avoidable situation.
For the second time, George Zimmerman has been granted bond. This time, Judge Kenneth Lester set bail at $1 million. Zimmerman was previously released on a $150,000 bond, but it was revoked after the judge discovered that Zimmerman had concealed large amounts of money from public donations. The defense argued that Zimmerman was not a flight risk, and that he should be released on bail because the case against him is weak. The prosecutors wanted him kept in jail, or given a much higher bond.
Prosecutors do not believe Zimmerman can be trusted after he lied to the court about how much money he had on hand. They believe this deception could make him a potential flight risk. The judge obviously disagreed, and claimed the court could not hold him over the monetary deception.
George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder for the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. On February 26, Zimmerman followed Martin as he walked through a Sanford, Florida neighborhood, believing him to be suspicious. A confrontation ensued, with Martin on top of Zimmerman, pummeling him into the sidewalk. Zimmerman ended up pulling out his pistol and shooting Martin in the chest, and injury that ended up being fatal.
Zimmerman is claiming self defense, and under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” rule, you are allowed to use deadly force if your life is in danger. The question the jury will have to answer is whether or not Zimmerman was in mortal danger. Determining who was the instigator in the conflict is another important matter. Zimmerman claims Martin jumped him, but there is also evidence that point to the opposite being true.
The incident caused a national outcry after it went public. Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks, and it took a special investigator to bring up charges. Originally, the Sanford Police were not going to file charges against him. The chaos brought on by the incident has led to the firing of the Sanford Chief of Police. People are also beginning to question the validity of “Stand Your Ground” type laws.
As the case has been battled in the court of public opinion, both sides have attempted to demonize the other. Reports emerged about Martin’s apparent drug use, and school troubles. Zimmerman’s criminal record and charges of domestic violence have been brought up. The case is going to be the biggest trial of the year, and it is going to get ugly.
Reports put together by the lead investigator of the Trayvon Martin killing lend doubt to parts of George Zimmerman’s story. According to the reports, which were written just after the incident by Detective Christopher Serino, Zimmerman had two chances to identify himself as a concerned citizen prior to the physical confrontation that resulted in Martin’s death. The detective also stated that Zimmerman’s actions were inconsistent with someone who claimed to be afraid of the other subject.
These details strike at the heart of the case. Zimmerman is claiming self defense in the shooting of Martin, and under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, citizens are permitted to use lethal force if they feel mortally threatened. The two were involved in a scuffle, and apparently Martin was getting the better of Zimmerman in the fight. The question for the jury will be whether or not Zimmerman was truly in mortal danger.
The reports released yesterday further make the case that Zimmerman was the main instigator in the incident. He followed Martin through the neighborhood, and now it has been revealed that he failed to identify himself and attempt to diffuse the situation once it escalated.
Zimmerman’s character has been taking a pounding lately. His bond was revoked after it was revealed that he with held financial information from the judge in his bond hearing. His wife was arrested for perjury in connection with the bond fiasco. Earlier today Good Morning America ran a report on a former colleague of Zimmerman’s at CarMax. The colleague claimed Zimmerman hazed and harassed him, making ethnic jokes and committing various pranks on him. The man making the accusations is an Arab American.
Zimmerman is set to have another bond hearing Friday. His lawyer claims that Zimmerman has fully cooperated with authorities and poses no flight risk. The lawyer wants a $150,000 bond, which is similar to the original bond amount.
George Zimmerman’s defense team has released a video in which George Zimmerman gave a reenactment of the events that led to the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. The video (which you can view below) shows Zimmerman bandaged up from the encounter. The 28 year old neighborhood watchmen claims that Martin was bashing his head into the ground as the two fought. Zimmerman was carrying a handgun, and he says Martin saw the gun and reached for it. It was at this point that Zimmerman shot and killed the teenager.
Zimmerman claimed self defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. After being questioned by police, he was eventually released and not charged with anything. The events happened on February 26, and within a month the tragedy exploded into a national story, flaring racial tensions across the country. A special prosecutor was eventually assigned to the case, and Zimmerman was later arrested and charged with second degree murder.
After being released on bond, Zimmerman was taken back to prison when a judge learned he misled the court on the amount of money he had available. Zimmerman had over $100,000 from donations he received over a website. His wife, Shellie Zimmerman, was also arrested and charged with perjury for lying about the amount of money they had available at the bond hearing. Zimmerman remains in jail at this time.
Yesterday, Sanford police chief Bill Lee was fired by city manager Norton Bonaparte, citing a lack of confidence by the community. Lee was widely panned for his units handling of the case. He has been on a leave of absence since March, and even offered his resignation in April, which was denied. Some wanted to see a Justice Department investigation into the department play out before Lee was let go. Rick Myers has been serving as interim police chief in Lee’s absence.
Four witnesses in the George Zimmerman murder trial have changed their stories, according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel. All four witnesses were neighbors and lived in the vicinity of where Trayvon Martin was murdered. The witnesses have been interviewed several times by police and special prosecutors. Most of the changes to their stories are viewed as harmful to George Zimmerman.
The changes in witness testimony involved who was running away from whom, who was crying for help, and who was on top of whom in the ensuing fight. The changes do not alter the general narrative of what happened that night.
It is hard for a witness to remember exact details on the spot when being grilled by interrogators. A changed story is not at all uncommon. This case has gotten so much media attention though, one has to wonder if that coverage helped alter some of the witnesses stories one way or the other. This is the danger of shining the national spotlight on a murder case.
The Casey Anthony murder trial is a classic example. As horrible as the circumstances around that case were, by putting the national spotlight on the case, the trial was unquestionably affected. The same will happen with the George Zimmerman trial.
On the flip side, this time around it took the national media spotlight to get the ball rolling in Zimmerman’s case. The investigation was botched from the start, and it took a national outcry for the incident to be brought to court where it belongs. That same spotlight could now do damage to the justice system. Zimmerman has been looked upon as guilty from the start. Can he really get a fair trial? In the coming months we will find out.
The Miami Herald has dug up some information from George Zimmerman’s Myspace page circa 2005. The paper found some derogatory statements about Mexicans in some of the 28 year old’s postings. Zimmerman listed himself as Latino in the About Me section of the social networking site. You can read the statements he made below:
I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!
Other postings made reference to his other legal troubles in the year 2005. He made a comment about the domestic violence charges against him being dropped. He also mentioned the assault charge on a police officer being downgrades.
These revelations come as his new attorney, Mark O’Mara, has taken control of his online presence. He had planned to wipe out all of his online data, including a website he had set up to raise money for his defense, but he changed his mind after he saw that Zimmerman’s website had raised over $200,000. The attorney has now set up a new site where people can donate to Zimmerman’s defense fund.
These latest revelations are only going to fuel the fire of those who believe the killing of Trayvon Martin was racially motivated. Zimmerman followed the boy through his neighborhood because he thought he looked suspicious. Given his statements on Myspace it would appear he had a history of racial profiling. While this does not make him guilty it will certainly be used against him in court.
Attorney’s for George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing 17 year old Trayvon Martin, failed to mention that their client had raised more than $200,000 through donations from a website prior to his bond hearing. Florida Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester now wants to know more about this money, as Zimmerman’s family had claimed they were having trouble raising money for his bond. His father supposedly had to take out a second mortgage on his house to afford the bond.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, does not believe the omission will change the terms of Zimmerman’s bond. The 28 year old was released from jail earlier this week and has been in hiding ever since. O’Mara has taken control of all of Zimmerman’s online outlets. Apparently, the family of Trayvon Martin was not happy about the money revelation that was withheld from the court.
A request by the prosecution to issue a gag order on all those involved in the case was denied by Judge Lester on Friday as well. Lester also decided that the court file would be open. O’Mara had requested that they be closed.
The effects of this incident are being felt across the country. Martin’s name was brought up in an assault that occurred locally at Delmar Drive in Mobile. A group of African Americans beat Mathew Owens to the point of hospitalization, with one of them apparently stating, “Now that’s justice for Trayvon”. The case has caused racial tension across the country.
This trial is likely to mimic the OJ Simpson trial over a decade and a half ago in terms of the racial elements. Many in the African American community view the month that Zimmerman went free before he was arrested as an injustice. Protests erupted across the country until Zimmerman was eventually arrested. If he is found innocent, there is sure to be an uproar.
George Zimmerman was released from jail around midnight on Sunday. The accused killer of Trayvon Martin was released on $150,000 bond, of which he had to put up 10%, or $15,000. His residence until he faces trial is being kept secret for his own safety. He may be taken out of the state of Florida.
Zimmerman was granted bail based on his previous work in the community and lack of convictions of any serious crimes. Prosecutors had requested a $1 million bail in light of his minor criminal history that included an arrest in 2005 for hitting a police officer. He was also accused of domestic abuse that same year. Neither of those offenses resulted in criminal charges.
Now the waiting game begins until what is likely to be the biggest trial of the year. Zimmerman will face second degree murder charges for the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims he killed the boy in self defense. Police had originally intended to arrest Zimmerman after the crime, but were advised against it by prosecutors because they felt his claims of self defense were solid enough under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The case brought national attention to gun laws across the nation and ignited racial tension because Martin was an African American and Zimmerman was of white and Hispanic background.