News: Trayvon Martin's Killer Makes Big Move, Hires High-Profile Lawyer
Friday, Jun 1, 2012 3:50PM
Florida resident George Zimmerman's solicited donations may have earned him a high-powered defense attorney.
An official statement regarding Zimmerman's power move is slated to take place Friday (June 1) afternoon.
The Orlando Sentinel reports lead defense attorney Mark O'Mara plans to announce Friday that veteran Orlando attorney Donald R. West will join his team. West, who specializes in murder cases, has handled some of the most high-profile cases in central Florida over the past two decades. He represented Orlando music mogul Lou Pearlman on bank, mail and wire fraud charges. In 1998, he helped Joe "Crazy Joe" Spaziano get off death row. Sapziano is a former motorcycle gang member who was convicted of raping and murdering an Orlando teen. The Sentinel reports O'Mara and West are longtime friends. (News One)
Last month, new evidence from the February shooting landed online.
More than 200 pages of photos and eyewitness accounts released by prosecutors Thursday show Zimmerman and Martin were in a loud and bloody fight in the moments leading up to the shooting and that Zimmerman appeared to be getting the worst of it, with wounds both to his face and the back of his head. But the original lead detective in the case believed Zimmerman caused the fight by getting out of his vehicle to confront Martin, who wasn't doing anything criminal, and then could have defused the situation by telling Martin he was just a concerned citizen and tried to talk to him. He didn't think Zimmerman could legally invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law and should be charged with manslaughter. (The Star-Ledger)
Zimmerman could face problems in court as a police report claims the slaying was avoidable.
"The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely, if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party's concern," the report says. "There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter." (First Coast News)
Recent reporting claimed Zimmerman has raised thousands of dollars in support.
Zimmerman, the man who shot their son, raised $204,000 in just three weeks with a PayPal account posted to a website. He spent about $50,000 before his defense lawyer ever learned of the fund's swelling balance, his attorney, Mark O'Mara, acknowledged. O'Mara recently created a new fundraising site administered by a former IRS agent and registered with the Florida Division of Consumer Services. He told ABC News that he raised nearly $8,000 in the first few days the site was active. "I'm not going to be unrealistic to the fact that everyone is seeking donations in relation to this case, including the Trayvon Martin family," O'Mara said at a recent press conference. "It seems as though we have become in this criminal justice system a system where we can ask other people to help us. That's what we are doing." The fund now also includes the $150,000 balance transferred from the original PayPal account Zimmerman had set up. (Kansas City Star)
In April, he was allowed to post bail after getting charged with Martin's murder.
George Zimmerman was released around midnight Sunday from a Florida county jail on $150,000 bail as he awaits his second-degree murder trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. The neighborhood watch volunteer was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans and carrying a paper bag. He walked out following another man and didn't look over at photographers gathered outside. He then followed the man into a white BMW vehicle and drove away. Moments before, two Seminole County sheriff's vehicles blocked access to the intake building parking lot where Zimmerman was being released. Zimmerman emerged after two public information officers confirmed the credentials of the photographers outside. (Fox News)
Check out footage of Trayvon Martin prior to the shooting below: