George Zimmerman denied modified release

SANFORD, Fla. - George Zimmerman sat quietly inside the courtroom, while outside, his brother Robert cautiously looked around, talking about the fear their family is living with. "We are all constantly afraid, I'm afraid right here."

Citing serious safety concerns, defense attorney Mark O'Mara wanted Judge Debra Nelson to modify Zimmerman's release conditions, allowing him to take off a GPS ankle monitor and be free to leave Seminole County.

"My guy deserves a good defense, and he's going to get it.  I'm frustrated by someone who says he should live in hiding while he's doing it.  I'm frustrated by people who still say I want him dead," said O'Mara.

The defense says they hear from many people who support George Zimmerman and his claims of self-defense in the February shooting of Trayvon Martin.

But they say there also those who make violent threats.

"We have to do things for security all the time, special contingencies to be able to even participate in this way, my whole family would like to be here, but we have not revealed our faces. The only person that has is me and my brother," said Robert Zimmerman Jr.

Prosecutors say George Zimmerman needs to stay put in Seminole County until the trial because he's already lied about how money he has and that he had two passports.

They also say Zimmerman is doing anything but hiding.

"My recollection is that this defendant appeared on national TV. He put his profile out there for everybody in the world to see him and now he's arguing that it's not safe," said prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.

Judge Nelson agreed with the state and nixed Zimmerman's push for more freedom.  "I have read the motion and the exhibits and heard the argument of council and the motion is denied."

She also denied the defense request to lower Zimmerman's million dollar bond.

"This case has enflamed passions on all sides and it's dangerous. And the danger is focused on him. And quite honestly, only him," said O'Mara.

Robert Zimmerman says his brother only leaves the house when he has to which is making it more difficult to prepare for his defense. He also says George has gained a little weight because getting exercise isn't easy while wearing an ankle monitor.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the 17-year-old Martin's shooting following an altercation in Sanford in February.  He has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Nelson has set a trial date for June. She also scheduled a "stand your ground" hearing for 45 days prior, so Zimmerman can claim self-defense and ask to drop the charges.

Print this article Back to Top