Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Zimmerman's Attorney: Trayvon Martin Killed 'Because of His Own Doing' (+Video)

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Zimmerman's Attorney: Trayvon Martin Killed 'Because of His Own Doing' (+Video)

Article excerpt

Mark O'Mara, George Zimmerman's attorney, suggested at a bond hearing Friday that the state's case against him in the Trayvon Martin murder case is so weak that it doesn't warrant more punishment from the court. Prosecutors disagree.

George Zimmerman, the defendant in the Trayvon Martin murder case, pleaded for a second chance to be freed on bond at a Friday hearing that turned into "minitrial" featuring witnesses such as paramedics, forensic accountants, a probationer, and Mr. Zimmerman's father.

Mr. Zimmerman had been previously freed on bond, but that was revoked earlier this month when Judge Kenneth Lester agreed that Zimmerman conspired with his wife to lie to the court about the couple's finances.

Judge Lester left the second bond hearing Friday without making a decision, but undoubtedly with a clearer view of the looming legal confrontation over the controversial killing of an unarmed black teenager in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the court that the state's case will show that Zimmerman overstepped his authority as a citizen by profiling an innocent boy as a criminal, falsely acted as a police officer by pursuing him, and shot and killed Martin without sufficient evidence that his own life was actually in danger.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, introduced a 911 tape that includes a scream that Zimmerman's father said was his son's, medical records that show damage to Zimmerman's face and head, and testimony from a paramedic who said blood covered nearly half of Zimmerman's face on the night of the shooting. The evidence, Mr. O'Mara said, was intended to suggest that the state's case for second-degree murder is so weak that it should play a role in whether the judge should further "punish" Zimmerman by letting him stay in jail until the trial.

"The strength of the state's case for second-degree murder is something you need to take apart," O'Mara told Lester.

At the heart of Lester's looming decision is the extent to which Zimmerman's credibility has been wrecked by his decision to conspire to deceive the court with his wife, who said on April 20 that the couple was basically penniless, even as they had been moving around $130,000 of donations from strangers in the days leading up to the bond hearing. At the time, Zimmerman sat stone-faced, "allowing a lie to stand," O'Mara conceded.

In appealing for the second bond, O'Mara focused on a previous statement by the judge stating that there was a "strong case" for the second-degree murder charge. O'Mara said the state's case is actually weak because, in his view, the preponderance of evidence points to a legitimate self-defense claim.

After breaking Zimmerman's nose and allegedly hitting his head on a cement walkway at least twice, "then [Martin] got shot, and he was killed because of his own doing," O'Mara said. …

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