The neighborhood watch volunteer who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin after an alleged scuffle in February has left a Florida jail, less than 24 hours after a judge set his bond at $1 million.
George Zimmerman left the Seminole County jail on Friday wearing a white dress shirt and a jacket.
Zimmerman’s lawyers were able to post the bond with help from an influx of $20,000 in donations to their client’s defense fund after a desperate plea on its website, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The $20,000 added to the balance of $211,000 in the defense fund, which was more than enough to cover the 10 per cent non-refundable portion charged by bonding companies.
‘He is very happy to be out. It’s been a very sobering experience spending the last month in jail,’ Zimmerman’s attorney Don West told reporters on Friday afternoon.
Another attorney for Zimmerman, Mark O’Mara, said that the team had secured a temporary safe house for his client.
He is required to stay in the county and must be electronically monitored, can’t open a bank account, obtain a passport or set foot on the grounds of the local airport. He has a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
A judge set Zimmerman’s bond at $1 million on Thursday. His previous $150,000 bond was revoked after prosecutors presented evidence to that he had misled the court about his finances.
The statement pleading for funds on Zimmerman’s legal defense fund website had contained some of the most urgent language yet from the legal team.
‘We steadfastly maintain that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and that he is not guilty of second degree murder,’ the statement read.
‘For those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights – now is the time to show your support.’
The statement added Zimmerman had to pay a bail bond company $100,000 dollars – 10 per cent of the $1 million dollar bail – and be able to show he had collateral worth $1 million.
The bond was raised to $1 million dollars after it emerged Zimmerman had allowed his wife Shellie to mislead the court about how much money they had during an April 20 bond hearing.
The couple failed to disclose at least $130,000 in donations, made through a PayPal account.
Prosecutors argued Zimmerman and his wife talked in code during recorded jailhouse conversations about how to transfer the donations to different bank accounts.
Zimmerman at one point asked how much money they had. She replied ‘$155’ but prosecutors allege that was code for $155,000.
Shellie Zimmerman faces arraignment at the end of the month on a perjury charge; she was freed on bond.
During Zimmerman’s second bond hearing, his attorney, Mark O’Mara, said that his client was confused, fearful and experienced a moment of weakness when he and his wife misled the court.
But the judge didn’t buy it and accused Zimmerman of making plans to flee to avoid prosecution, misleading O’Mara by not disclosing his money and trying to manipulate the judicial system.
‘The evidence is clear that the Defendant and his wife acted in concert, but primarily at the Defendant’s direction, to conceal their cash holdings,’ Judge Kenneth Lester wrote in his statement on Thursday.
Source: The Daily Mail