George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in the in the Florida killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, surrendered to police Sunday and was booked into a central Florida jail two days after his bond was revoked.
Zimmerman wore a white shirt and jeans when he arrived at the jail in a white unmarked police minivan with a police official, writes CBS News. Zimmerman did not answer questions from reporters.
Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman’s bond on Friday, stating that the defendant and his wife Shellie had lied to the court in April about their finances so he could obtain a lower bond, according to The Huff Post.
George Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is from Peru, is charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Martin on Feb 26. as the teenager walked through a gated community in Sanford where he was staying with his father.
Reuters reports that police initially decided not to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, but six weeks later a special prosecutor charged him with second-degree murder.
The former neighborhood watch volunteer has pleaded not guilty and said he fired in self-defense after Martin broke his nose and bashed his head on a side-walk.
During a bond hearing in April, his wife, Shellie, testified that the couple had limited funds available.
Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said on 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.”
Prosecutors pointed out that Zimmerman had $135,000 available at that time. It had been raised from donations through a website he had set up. They also said they believed more has been collected since and deposited in a bank account.
Zimmerman’s defence team said the matter was a misunderstanding and that Zimmerman and his wife never used the money for anything, which indicated “there was no deceit.”
The motion to revoke Zimmerman’s bond also cited phone calls made to his wife Shellie from jail in which Zimmerman instructed his wife in coded language to transfer money into her personal account.
Prosecutors said that Zimmerman he had withheld one of two valid passports.
In one of the recorded phone calls from jail, the motion said Zimmerman told his wife he thought the passport was in a bag and she replied, “I have one for you in a safety deposit box.”
“OK, you hold onto that,” Zimmerman allegedly told her.
Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger said George Zimmerman turned himself in to two sheriff’s office employees around 1:25 p.m. near the jail.
“He is quiet and cooperative,” Eslinger said at a news conference after Zimmerman’s surrender.
Mark O’Mara, defence attorney, indicated to reporters outside the jail that his client may have acted unwisely in regards to his passports and the defense fund.
“He (Zimmerman) understands the court’s concern now we’ve had a chance to look at it,” O’Mara said.
O’Mara added he understood that the veracity of Zimmerman’s story might have been dealt a blow if the court feels it had been deliberately misled, but insisted it was a misunderstanding.
“I don’t think it addresses the case specifically. Certainly there is a credibility question that now needs to be rehabilitated by explaining away what they were thinking when they did what they did if that’s what happened. We’ll address it,” O’Mara told reporters.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin’s parents – Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton – said his clients have always said Zimmerman should remain in jail until trial.