George Zimmerman Turns Himself In After Bail Revoked

Trayvon Martin killing suspect lied about his finances, a judge ruled.

June 3, 2012, 9:04 AM

SANFORD, Fla., June 3, 2012— -- George Zimmerman arrived at the Seminole County Jail in Sanford, Fla., early this afternoon to turn himself in after a judge revoked his bail in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Sheriff's office officials brought Zimmerman into jail in full view of the media, unlike his release, when he was whisked away in secrecy.

Looking a little heavier than he did after his arrest and with his formerly short-cropped hair growing out, Zimmerman wore a plaid shirt and jeans.

He arrived at the jail less than one hour before the 2:30 p.m. deadline for his surrender.

Zimmerman was met by officers off I-4 and was driven into custody about 20 minutes later, authorities said.

After he arrived, Zimmerman was to be booked again and placed into isolation in administrative confinement for his own protection, according to a law enforcement official.

Less than six weeks ago, Zimmerman walked out of Seminole County Courthouse a free man on bail, preparing to live the next year or two of his life in hiding as he awaited the beginning of his high profile murder trial for the death of Martin.

But following a contentious hearing Friday in which the court learned Zimmerman and his wife Shelly had allegedly tried to hide from the court the more than $135,000 in cash they had amassed in donated legal funds, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester ordered him back in jail with 48 hours.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara said Zimmerman's credibility will now be a major issue which he will have to address.

O'Mara also hinted Zimmerman may not testify at a bond hearing.

Within weeks of its launch on April 9, received more than $200,000 in donations to help with Zimmerman's legal expenses. But at an April 20 bond hearing, Zimmerman and his wife told the judge they were financially indigent.

Since his attorney last month waived his right to a speedy trial, Zimmerman could conceivably spend the duration of the trial in isolation for his own security.

"At this time revoke his bond," Lester said at the hearing Friday. "Order him to surrender himself within 48 hours."

The prosecution presented at least four jailhouse phone conversations in which George and Shelly Zimmerman were apparently discussing tiny amounts of money, but where allegedly referring to some of the $200,000 supporters had poured into his PayPal account.

At the time of the recordings, Zimmerman had just been recently arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

During one call on April 16, Zimmerman and his wife were taped discussing their bank accounts.

George Zimmerman: In my account do I have at least $100?

Shelly Zimmerman: No

George Zimmerman: How close am I?

Shelly Zimmerman: $8. $8.60

George Zimmerman: Really? So total everything how much are we looking at?

Shelly Zimmerman: Like $155

Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda noted Shelly Zimmerman actually meant $155,000.

He said the couple knew that their conversation was being recorded but that they were speaking in code and knowingly withheld from the court the amount of money brought in from, the now defunct website set up by the 28-year-old to help fund his defense fund.

Zimmerman set up the site on April 9.

He released his first public comments about his role in the death of Trayvon Martin on it, and in less than 2 weeks the site raised $200,000 in anonymous donations sent via a PayPal link.

Information provided by Zimmerman's attorney a week after he was released on bail showed that the couple had $135,000 in their bank account a day before the April 20 hearing.

In court his wife said she had no idea how much money they received from the site and that they had no money, an argument Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara used in court to help persuade the judge to set bail at $150,000.The prosecution had requested bail to be set at $1 million.

"I quite frankly from the state position will flat out call it what it is, the defendant's wife lied to the court," said De La Rionda.

The prosecution contended that even though Zimmerman was in jail, he was "intimately involved" in the deposit and transfer of money from the site to various accounts.

During two of the recorded calls, Shelly Zimmerman was speaking with her husband from a Credit Union, and in one of the calls Zimmerman himself, was speaking directly to a Credit Union official.

During another recorded conversation on April 16, prosecutors say the two were discussing how to move forward with bond.

George Zimmerman: If the bond is more than 15, pay the 15. If more than 15 pay 10 percent to the bondsman.

Shelly Zimmerman: You don't want me to pay $100.

George Zimmerman: I don't know.

Shelly Zimmerman: All right just think about it.

George Zimmerman: I will.

Shelly Zimmerman: That's what it's for.

O'Mara said that the couple was not deliberately hiding money, and that it was "more of an innocent misunderstanding than a devious attempt to hide money."

At the time, Zimmerman was hesitant to use a bondsman to secure his release, due to the fear of an outsider knowing his whereabouts.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office officials said they know the whereabouts of Zimmerman, who is mandated to wear a GPS ankle bracelet 24/7 and that they are in constant contact with him.

Although it is almost a certainty that his attorney will seek to regain his freedom albeit a much higher bond, Zimmerman now faces the prospects of facing the next year or two in protective custody.

Zimmerman's attorney had earlier waived his right to a speedy trial and earlier during the hearing before his bail was addressed had said he didn't expect the trial to begin until sometime during 2013 at the earliest.

Prosecutors said they believe Zimmerman misled his attorney about his financial situation as well as the court.

Along with conversations about their finances, prosecutors also told the Judge that Zimmerman was hiding a second passport from authorities that he acquired shortly after the Martin shooting and had stored in a safety deposit box.

But after his bond he did turn the second passport into his attorney who quickly notified the court. The judge agreed with his attorney, that the second passport, which was never used, was not being hid maliciously.

Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump who looked elated as the judge made his ruling spoke before cameras and said this was the most important development of the case so far.

"We think what just transpired in the court room was very, very important," said Crump. "It was at the crux of the matter in the whole case. Judge Lester finding that he was dishonest is very important because his credibility is the most important thing in this entire case."

No known evidence exists detailing who instigated the confrontation between the two, but the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman could hinge on his assertion that the unarmed teen attacked him. Zimmerman is the only person who knows exactly what happened that night.

Friday's hearing began with the state and prosecution unsuccessfully arguing that releasing more evidence to the public could jeopardize Zimmerman receiving a fair trial and unduly burden witnesses in the case.

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