George Zimmerman made his first court appearance since being officially charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman wore a gray prison jumpsuit and spoke only to answer “Yes, sir,” after being asked questions about the charge against him and his lawyer.
His hair was shaved down to stubble and he sported a thin goatee, which appeared consistent with his booking photo from the day before (below).
He resurfaced Wednesday to turn himself in after weeks in hiding. Meanwhile, a new document provided additional details on the prosecution’s case.
Judge Mark E. Herr said he found probable cause to move forward with the case and an arraignment would be held on May 29 before another judge.
The affidavit of probable cause prepared by prosecutors shed some light on why they chose to charge Zimmerman in the February 26 shooting.
The Orlando Sentinel says that on that night, Trayvon Martin’s mother identified screams heard in the background of a 911 call as her son’s.
There were doubts as to whether Martin or Zimmerman called for help.
Prosecutors interviewed a friend of Martin’s who was talking to him just before the shooting. Martin told the witness he was being followed and was scared.
Martin tried to run home, the affidavit says, but was followed by Zimmerman. The affidavit says, “Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin.”
The affidavit says that “Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher” during his initial 911 call, who told him to stop, and “continued to follow Martin.”
The 17-year-old “was trying to return to his home.”
At a press conference following the court appearance, Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara said he will seek a bond hearing “in the next few weeks.”
Zimmerman is widely expected to enter a not guilty plea. O’Mara said he is working on finding a place he could safely stay if he is released before trial.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, O’Mara said he was concerned that the case up until now has been handled largely in the public eye.
“It’s really supposed to happen in the courtroom,” O’Mara said, deflecting questions about evidence in the case and his client’s mental state.
“He’s tired,” O’Mara said when asked about Zimmerman, who has said he acted in self-defense and that Martin was the aggressor that night.
“He’s gone through some tribulations of his own, being the focus of the intensity of this event. He’s facing second degree murder charges now.”
“He’s frightened. That would frighten any one of us.”
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George Zimmerman Appears in Court; Affidavit Outlines Probable Cause For Murder Charge