George Zimmerman back in police custody, defense team says
Updated: June 4, 2012 - 06:17 pm
MIAMI (AP) - George Zimmerman's attorney says his client was confused and fearful when he allowed his wife to mislead court officials about the couple's finances.
Attorney Mark O'Mara wrote Monday on a website run by Zimmerman's legal team that he would file a motion asking for another bond hearing. A day earlier, Zimmerman returned to jail because his $150,000 bond was revoked.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
He claims he shot the teen in self-defense. Prosecutors say the Zimmermans deceived the court during an April bond hearing when Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, testified they had limited funds. Prosecutors say the Zimmermans really had raised at least $135,000 from a website.
Prosecutors suggested more money has been collected since and deposited in a bank account. Defense attorneys say the matter is a misunderstanding.
Prosecutors claim jailhouse conversations show Zimmerman and his wife supposedly speaking in code during the calls, saying $155 when they really meant $155,000.
The attorney for Martin's family says the evidence only helps his case in proving Zimmerman also lied about what happened that fatal night.
Prosecutors say they are reviewing the jailhouse phone calls, adding that they may release them soon. Police add, as of now, they cannot discuss any possibility of perjury charges being filed against Shellie.
A judge ordered Zimmerman back into custody and says he will hold a hearing so Zimmerman can explain himself.
The judge on Friday gave Zimmerman two days to surrender, and about 40 minutes before the 2:30 p.m. Sunday deadline, the Seminole County jail website listed Zimmerman as an inmate.
He was being held without bail and had $500 in his jail account, the website showed.
A new booking photo showed a clean-shaven Zimmerman, with a fuller head of hair than the crew cut he sported in his April booking photo.
Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger said Zimmerman turned himself in to two sheriff's deputies around 1:25 p.m. near the jail, and was then driven there.
"He is quiet and cooperative," Eslinger said at a news conference after Zimmerman's surrender.
The sheriff's office said Zimmerman would be in a cell by himself, separated from the general population, because the case is so high-profile. Zimmerman will not have access to a TV.
Zimmerman had been staying at an undisclosed location for his safety.
His legal team said Sunday they hope Zimmerman's voluntary surrender will show he is not a flight risk.
The money Zimmerman has raised is in an independent trust and cannot be directly accessed by Zimmerman or his attorneys, according to a news release.
Zimmerman maintains that he shot Martin in self-defense under Florida's so-called "stand-your-ground" law because the teenager was beating him up after confronting him about following Martin.
Zimmerman had called 911 to complain about suspicious activity. Martin was walking from a convenience store to the home of his father's fiance in the same gated community where Zimmerman lived.
Legal experts say Zimmerman's credibility could become an issue at trial, noting that the case hinges on jurors believing Zimmerman's account of what happened the night in February when Martin was killed.
Police in Sanford did not immediately arrest Zimmerman, citing the Florida stand-your-ground law that gives wide latitude to the use of deadly force rather than retreat in an altercation if someone believes he or she is in danger of being killed or seriously injured.
Protests were held across the nation, and the case spurred an emotional debate about whether race was a factor in Zimmerman's actions and in the initial police handling of the case.
Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is from Peru.
After a special prosecutor eventually brought charges against Zimmerman, he was arrested 44 days after the killing.
Zimmerman was freed a few days later after posting $15,000 in cash - which is typical. Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda complained Friday, "This court was led to believe they didn't have a single penny. It was misleading and I don't know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie."
The defense countered that Zimmerman and his wife never used the money for anything, which indicated "there was no deceit."
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents - Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton - said his clients have always said Zimmerman should remain in jail until trial.
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