A judge has revoked the bond of the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and ordered him returned to jail within 48 hours. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said Friday that George Zimmerman misled the court about how much money he had available when his bond was set for $150,000 in April. Prosecutors claim Zimmerman had $135,000 available that had been raised by a website he set up. Prosecutors also say he failed to surrender a second passport. The defense says the finances are an innocent misunderstanding. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and is claiming self-defense.
Trayvon Martin was talking on his cell phone when he was shot and killed in February.
Prosecutors said in a motion that 28-year-old George Zimmerman and his family misled them about his finances when testifying during a bail hearing that allowed him to be released from jail on a $150,000 bond. Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda asked for the revocation during a hearing to help determine if prosecutors and the defense can stop the public release of certain documents in the case. During the bond hearing in April, Zimmerman’s relatives testified they had limited funds. Zimmerman’s attorney said several days later that he had discovered his client had raised more than $200,000 from a website. At the time of the hearing, about $135,000 had been raised, and that money wasn’t disclosed at the bond hearing. “This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny,” said Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda. “It was misleading and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.” Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said it was an innocent misunderstanding and that Zimmerman wasn’t using that money for his expenses and wasn’t sure what he could use the money for. He said Zimmerman used the houses of his parents and grandmother as collateral for the bond.
Prosecutors also said in the motion that Zimmerman didn’t disclose he had a second passport. Zimmerman turned his passport over to the court at the bond hearing as a measure that would prevent him from fleeing the country.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder and claims self-defense. Zimmerman shot Martin last February during a confrontation at a gated community of townhouses in Sanford, Fla., where Zimmerman lived and where Martin was visiting his father’s fiancee. The delay in an arrest for 44 days prompted protests nationwide and led to Sanford’s police chief stepping aside so emotions could cool down. At Friday’s hearing, De la Rionda and O’Mara also asked a judge to stop the public release of witness names and statements made by Zimmerman to police officers. Those documents normally are part of the public record under Florida law.