George Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bail at around midnight on Sunday from county jail as he awaits his second-degree murder trial for the fatal shooting of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman was wearing blue jeans and a brown jacket and was spotted carrying a paper bag. He was met by an unidentified man in a white vehicle and drove away. For safety reasons, his temporary location is being kept secret for the time being.
At a hearing Friday, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester stated that Zimmerman cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. imposed curfew. Zimmerman was also required to surrender his passport.
Having to put up 10 percent, or $15,000, to make bail, Zimmerman’s father indicated that he might take out a second mortgage on their family home.
It’s noted that George Zimmerman worked at a mortgage risk-management company at the time of the shooting while his wife has been attending nursing school. Meanwhile, a website has been organized to collect donations for Zimmerman’s defense fund but it is unclear how much money has been raised at this time.
While bail is not unheard of in second-degree murder cases, many legal experts had predicted it would be granted for Zimmerman because of his ties to the community. That combined with the fact that he turned himself in after he was charged last week. Zimmerman has never been convicted of a serious crime.
Although prosecutors asked for $1 million bail, citing two previous scrapes Zimmerman had with the law, neither of which resulted in charges.
In early 2005, Zimmerman was required to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman’s friend. In another incident, a girlfriend accused him of attacking her in a domestic dispute.
Following the Trayvon Martin shooting, Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks, sparking national protests led by Martin’s parents, civil rights groups as well as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. The fact that Martin was black, Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is from Peru has raised questions regarding the allegations of Jackson and Sharpton that the incident was racially motivated.
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