ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – George Zimmerman, the Sanford neighborhood watch captain charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, has been granted a new bond of $1 million.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester made the decision Thursday morning.
Zimmerman’s original bond was revoked last month after Lester ruled that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had been untruthful about their finances at a bond hearing in April.
“The actual questions before the Court at this time are: is the defendant entitled to bail when he presents false testimony at a prior bond hearing and what recourse there is when the defendant has shown blatant disregard for the judicial system,” Judge Lester wrote in his decision.
Based upon the Florida Constitution, Judge Lester wrote, “By its plain language, this Court is authorized to detain the defendant without bail if it is determined that it is necessary to assure the integrity of the judicial process.”
Judge Lester continued, “Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system…Before this tragic incident, the defendant had a very sophisticated knowledge of the criminal justice system over and above that of the average law-abiding citizen.”
Judge Lester said that Zimmerman had been cooperative with the Sanford Police and had received “normal, reasonable treatment and was granted reasonable bail.”
But, “Contrary to the image presented by the defendant not by evidence but only by argument of counsel, it appears to this Court that the defendant is manipulating the system to his own benefit.”
In determining bail, Judge Lester said unlike the first bond hearing, “the Court gives little weight to Defendant’s family ties as assurance that the Defendant will appear for subsequent hearings.” Judge Lester cited the access to money and the deceit George and Shellie Zimmerman had committed.
Prosecutors said the Zimmermans raised $135,000 on a website they set up to pay for his defense. They then transferred the money from Paypal to their accounts. They then allegedly transferred the money out of their accounts to Zimmerman’s sister before the bond hearing and then transferred it back after he was released on bond.
During the first bond hearing, Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, testified that the couple had limited funds to use for bail since she was a fulltime nursing student and he wasn’t working. Zimmerman did nothing to correct her as she testified by telephone due to safety concerns.
Prosecutors said jailhouse calls between Zimmerman and his wife a few days before the hearing show Zimmerman instructed his wife on how to transfer funds raised by the website to her account.
Shellie Zimmerman was later charged with making a false statement. George Zimmerman hasn’t been charged for the pretrial fraud.
Zimmerman will have to come up with $100,000, or 10 percent, of the total bond to secure his release from jail and have to abide by certain conditions including:
- Refrain from any criminal activity of any kind
- Shall not have any contact with the victim’s family, directly or indirectly, except as necessary to conduct pretrial discovery through his attorneys
- Shall be subject to electronic monitoring at his own expense
- Shall not leave Seminole County without prior authorization by the court
- Shall check in with pre-trial release department every 48 hours
- Shall not enter the property of the Orlando-Sanford International Airport
- Shall not open or maintain a bank account
- Shall not consume any alcohol
- Shall obey a curfew between 6 p.m and 6 a.m.
- Shall not apply or obtain a passport
Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty, has maintained since the Feb. 26 killing that he shot Martin in self-defense because the unarmed 17-year-old was beating him up after confronting Zimmerman about following him in the gated community outside Orlando.