George Zimmerman, the man charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, will be able to shed the prison garb he has worn for the past several weeks and appear in civilian clothes when he goes before a judge Friday to ask for a second chance at bond.
The decision came late Thursday.
Zimmerman’s bond was revoked earlier this month when it was discovered he and his wife, Shellie, had misled the court about their finances. His attorney, Mark O’Mara, filed a petition with the court this week asking that Zimmerman not be forced to appear Friday in restraints and a prison jumpsuit, which O’Mara worried would color the public’s view of his client. At the time, O’Mara said “the manner in which Mr. Zimmerman is portrayed by the media will have a tremendous impact on his ability to receive a fair trial,” and that showing him in shackles and a prison jumpsuit could prejudice the outcome of his trial. At the April 19 hearing, Zimmerman appeared in a suit, but his hands and ankles were shackled.
The new bond hearing will take place Friday morning in Sanford, Florida, where Zimmerman is currently being held in jail. His wife Shellie is charged with perjury for her misleading statements to the court regarding the six-figure sums raised through a website George Zimmerman created before O’Mara became his attorney, and is free on bond. O’Mara admitted to the court previously that Zimmerman had allowed his wife to misrepresent how much money the two had in their bank accounts prior to his April 19 bond hearing, at which a $150,000 bail was set.
The news that Zimmerman will be permitted to appear without shackles and prison garb comes as a Miami Herald report reveals that Zimmerman previously failed to appear before a court in a 2005 lawsuit he filed over overtime he claimed to be owed by an employer. In that case, Zimmerman was fined $10,000 for failure to appear, which he reportedly never paid.
Zimmerman shot and killed Martin on February 26th after following him through the Retreat at Twin Lakes gated community, believing he looked suspicious, and following a series of break-ins at the townhomes where he and his wife were renters.