News: UPDATE: Handcuffed George Zimmerman 'Frightened' In Court, Pleads Not Guilty In Trayvon Martin Killing

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 8:49PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

A day after being charged with second-degree murder, Florida resident George Zimmerman appeared in court and pleaded not guilty for his role in the death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin.

With a not guilty plea in order, Zimmerman's attorney is also looking to have him released on bond.

A handcuffed George Zimmerman, charged with killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, appeared in court for the first time on Thursday and his lawyer said a not guilty plea was entered on his "frightened" client's behalf. The neighborhood watch volunteer's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, also said he wanted Zimmerman to be released on bond, but not until he could secure a safe place for him to stay while he faces murder charges in the February 26 killing of 17-year-old Martin in a quiet gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford. (Reuters)

While Martin supporters demand justice, a formal arraignment will not take place until late next month.

Zimmerman, hands shackled, head shaved and wearing a close-clipped goatee, addressed a judge via teleconference from the John E. Polk Correctional Facility. He said "Yes sir" twice during the five-minute hearing in a small jailhouse courtroom. Judge Mark Herr set formal arraignment for May 29 and agreed to seal some of the case file. "It was a very standard procedure. A not guilty plea was entered. We have an arraignment set for the 29th. We'll attend to a bond motion between now and then," O'Mara told reporters after the hearing. He said he chose not to ask for bail immediately because it might "only arouse the fervor" around the case. (Reuters)

Earlier in the day, Martin's mother offered her take on the murder charge.

Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton told the TODAY show Thursday that she believes her son's fatal shooting by George Zimmerman was an accident. "I believe it was an accident, I believe that it just got out of control and he couldn't turn the clock back," she said. "I would ask him, 'Did he know that that was a minor, that that was a teenager and that he did not have a weapon?'" she added. Martin's mom suggested that Zimmerman, who claims he killed Martin in self-defense, should apologize if he is remorseful. "One of the things that I still believe in: A person should apologize when they really -- when they are actually remorseful for what they've done," Fulton said. "I understand his family is hurting, but think about our family that lost our teenage son. I mean, it's just very difficult to live with day in and day out. I'm sure his parents can pick up the phone and call him, but we can't pick up the phone and call Trayvon anymore." (MSNBC)

Wednesday evening, Zimmerman was officially charged in the teenager's February death.

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, faces a second-degree murder charge for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in Sanford, Fla., the special prosecutor in the case announced Wednesday. In a televised news conference, State Atty. Angela B. Corey outlined the charges in the case that has sparked national demonstrations calling for Zimmerman's arrest. "I can tell you we did not come to this decision lightly," Corey told reporters. "We do not prosecute by public pressure." She said her office had filed information with the charge. Zimmerman, who has maintained he acted in self-defense, was in custody, Corey confirmed, though she gave no details. He had been in hiding since the shooting after his family said he had received death threats. (Los Angeles Times)

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