SANFORD, Fla. April 23, 2012 -- George Zimmerman, wearing a bullet proof vest, walked out of a Florida jail shortly after midnight today and slipped back into hiding where his lawyer says he will likely stay until his trial next year.
Zimmerman was able to leave jail after posting $150,000 bond as he awaits trial on a second degree murder charge for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
In another development today, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee offered his resignation, but the city council refused to accept it. Lee temporarily withdrew as chief last month in the wake of the killing.
Martin's family released a statement seeming to object to the city council's action.
"Sanford residents deserve quality leadership in law enforcement who will handle investigations fairly for all people," the family said. "If Chief Bill Lee recognized that his resignation would help start the healing process in Sanford, city leadership should have accepted it in an effort to move the city forward."
Zimmerman left the John E. Polk Correctional Facility at the Seminole County Sheriff's Office accompanied by a man ABC News identified as his bail bondsman.
Zimmerman was fitted with an electronic monitoring device prior to release, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. The GPS device, which can give immediate identification of an offender's whereabouts anywhere in the U.S., suggests that the defense's request that he be allowed to wait out the trial out of Florida may have been granted.
The terms of his release require him to report his whereabouts every three days, according to court documents.
Zimmerman was also wearing the bullet proof vest beneath a jacket when he walked out of jail. He wore one in court beneath a dark suit last week.
"We have had serious threats that law enforcement is looking into where they've threatened his life and since we don't know how legitimate they are we have to be concerned about all of them," Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara told ABC News.
Out of concern for his safety, OMara says that he will waive Zimmerman's appearance at his arraignment May 8. When asked if Zimmerman will be seen in public again anytime soon, O'Mara said, "I don't think so," and addd that Zimmerman may not be seen in public until he testifies.
The lawyer depicted a scenario in which Zimmerman, 28, will be largely in isolation with people monitoring his security.
"One picture on a cell phone could destroy the security that we're trying to set up," O'Mara said.
He said that Zimmerman will require "somebody who can help protect him" and said he will ask the state to pay for the protection.
O'Mara said Zimmerman's family is "hoping to get some assistance from the outside because it's going to be a very expensive proposition" to handle living expenses as well as the cost of security and legal fees.
On Saturday his attorney Mark O'Mara left the jail saying his client may be in jail through the middle of the week, adding, and "The logistics, that's a lot of money to come up with. $150,000 is a lot of collateral. It's not a family of much means, obviously, we all know that from the bond hearing itself, so it's tough. We're still working on it."
At a bond hearing on Friday Judge Kenneth Lester set bail at $150,000. The prosecution had argued that Zimmerman should be denied bail entirely or that it should be set at $1 million.
Zimmerman is being held on charges of second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin, 17, which could carry a life sentence if he is convicted.
Zimmerman stunned a Florida court Friday by taking the stand and apologizing to the parents of Trayvon Martin, who were sitting in the courtroom during Zimmerman's bond hearing.
"I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not," Zimmerman said addressing Martin's family directly.
Zimmerman told police the night he shot and killed Martin that he acted in self-defense after Martin punched him and pounced on him. Zimmerman told police that Martin then bashed his head into the concrete sidewalk during the altercation that took place in the tidy middle-class development of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla.
Click here to see more images of Zimmerman.