George Zimmerman made his first appearance in a Florida court on Thursday. Standing solemnly before Judge Mark Herr, wearing grey prison garb and handcuffs, looking much smaller and slightly ill, Zimmerman listened as the judge set his formal arraignment for May 29 at 1:30 p.m. in court 1A.
His arraignment will be heard by Court Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler. The hearing was brief and to the point, lasting only four minutes. His lawyer Mark O'Mara asked that the records of witnesses be sealed going forward.
Zimmerman was taken into police custody on Wednesday, informally charged with second-degree murder for killing Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Florida.
He gave himself up to police on Wednesday and was seen on television being hustled into custody with his head covered under a black cloak to conceal him from cameras.
Special prosecutor Angela Corey said in a press conference on Wednesday that the charges did not come as a result of pressure from the public or petitions but from the evidence in the case.
No bail was set at this time so he was taken back to jail.
Meanwhile, Trayvon's mother Sybrina Martin said on The Today Show on Thursday that her son's killing "was an accident" and that things had "gotten out of hand." This is in striking contrast to what she said in February and again later Thursday. In a released statement after the show, she said that Zimmerman had "hunted" her son down and "murdered" him. She added that her earlier statement on The Today Show had been misconstrued and taken out of context.
Asked during Thursday's press briefing whether he would use this in his client's defense, new lawyer O'Mara said he was looking forward to speaking with her. He added that he will be seeking bail for his client in the coming weeks. On the question of how much money Zimmerman had collected from his website, O'Mara said he did not have any idea about what his client had gotten or if he had gotten any money. He will be holding another press conference aound 5 p.m. today.
Zimmerman is being charged for shooting 17-year-old high-schooler Trayvon Martin, killing him with one shot to the chest as he was walking home. The unarmed teen reportedly had only a bag of candy and iced tea on him. The self-appointed neighborhood watchman claimed self-defense and Florida's Stand Your Ground had kept him out of jail until now.
Public outrage and pressured was kept up since the fatal shooting, for communities across the nation protested what they say was a bias by the Sanford police and the former state prosecutor Norm Wolfinger. Wolfinger has long recused himself from the case and Police Chief Lee has stepped down temporarily.
To read some of my articles on theTrayvon/Zimmerman case, click links below:
Sanford police steps down:DA recuses himself
New eyewitness speaks:I saw Trayvon killed
Jeb Bush: Stand Your Ground law does not apply
Speaking for Trayvon:communites react
:Trayvon Martin Police Report
Why doesn't Stand Your Ground law protect Trayvon?
Painting a portrait: who was Trayvon?
Vilifying the victim: the spin begins
SWB: Suspicious while Black?