Thursday, July 5, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. A Florida judge ruled Thursday that George Zimmerman can be released from jail a second time on $1 million bond, saying he set the bail amount significantly higher because Zimmerman may have been hiding money as part of a plot to flee the country.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester had revoked Zimmerman’s $150,000 bond last month after prosecutors told the judge Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about how much money they had during an April bond hearing. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The judge made his decision after listening last week to Zimmerman’s attorney and a forensic financial analyst explain why he wasn’t more forthcoming.
The judge expressed his unhappiness with Zimmerman and said that his actions suggest a possibility that he was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution.
“Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system,” Lester wrote in the order. “The defendant has tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so.”
Lester said he was granting bond because Zimmerman posed no threat to the community, and Florida law requires that most defendants receive bond if they pose no threat and can assure their presence for trial. The judge’s order requires Zimmerman to be electronically monitored and residing in Seminole County, prohibits him from opening a bank account or obtaining a passport and implements a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Zimmerman had been allowed to leave Florida under the conditions of his first bond release.
Shellie Zimmerman has since been charged with perjury. She is out of jail on $1,000 bond and her arraignment is set for July 31.