Home / National News / George Zimmerman Appears In Court; Arraignment Set for May 29


(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — George Zimmerman wept during his first night in jail for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a law enforcement official told ABC News on Thursday.

Zimmerman, who was arrested and charged Wednesday with second degree murder, was held in protective custody away from the other inmates in the Sanford, Fla., city jail.

Zimmerman, 28, made his first court appearance Thursday and spoke once, answering “Yes, sir” when the judge asked whether Mark O’Mara was his attorney. He wore a blue-gray jumpsuit and had several days of wispy growth on his face.

He did not enter a plea and his attorney did not request bond. His formal arraignment is scheduled for May 29.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s office said Zimmerman underwent a series of physical and mental health tests after arriving at the jail Wednesday night. He was then sent to protective custody where he was isolated from other inmates and under constant watch in his own cell, ABC News has learned.

Zimmerman was upset and wept for part of the night in his cell.

There was no sign of scarring on the back of his head and the booking photo shows no indication that his nose had been broken in his confrontation with Martin, as Zimmerman’s former legal team had claimed.

O’Mara said outside of court when the hearing was completed that they had decided not to ask for bail and suggested it was at least partly out of concern for Zimmerman’s safety.

Zimmerman, who is a white Hispanic, shot and killed the 17-year-old black teenager after following Martin for several minutes and telling a police dispatcher Martin appeared suspicious. He claims he fired in self defense after Martin attacked him and went for his gun.

The charge of second degree murder rather than a lesser charge of manslaughter surprised many observers of the case.

To get a murder conviction, the state would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted dangerously to another, “evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.” Corey will have to prove specifically that Martin’s death was not simply an accident or mistake, but that significant negligence was involved.

If convicted, Zimmerman faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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