Monday, June 4, 2012

George Zimmerman reports back to jail

George Zimmerman, charged in the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin, returned to jail Sunday two days after a judge revoked his bail. NBC's Charles Hadlock reports.

By Charles Hadlock, NBC News, and M. Alex Johnson,

Updated 4 p.m. ET: George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, was booked into jail Sunday, two days after a judge revoked his bail after evidence surfaced that Zimmerman and his wife may have misled the court about their finances.

Charles Hadlock is a correspondent for NBC News. M. Alex Johnson is a reporter for Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.

Zimmerman, 28, arrived in the state Saturday night from an undisclosed "secure location," where he has been staying because of "significant threats against his life," his lawyer, Mark O'Mara, said Sunday. He arrived at the jail before 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Zimmerman met police at a business park and was driven to the jail. He was handcuffed and wore a blue checkered button-up shirt. He is being held without bail and is listed as having $500 in his jail account, according to the jail website.?

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla., was released after posting $15,000 in cash on April 20 after he was charged with killing Martin, 17, who was unarmed, in February. The case triggered a nationwide debate about whether race was involved in the shooting; Martin was black, while Zimmerman is the son of a white man and a Peruvian woman.

Zimmerman was quiet and his return to jail went smoothly, Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger said at a news conference Sunday. He said Zimmerman will stay in a single cell as he did before he was released in late April. The cell is 67-square-feet and is equipped with a toilet, two beds, a mattress, pillow, blanket and sheets, according to The Associated Press.

Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger and George Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara, spoke at a news conference after the former neighborhood watch volunteer surrendered to police.

Key events in the Travyon Martin case

Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman's bond Friday after learning that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, may have misled him about their assets when he set bond. Prosecutors demonstrated that Zimmerman had at least $135,000 that he did not disclose in a special PayPal account he had set up to pay for his defense.

Zimmerman and his wife testified at a bond hearing that they had little money. During the hearing, Zimmerman also apologized to Martin's parents. The judge set bail at $150,000 -- days later, Zimmerman was released after putting forth 10 percent of the total bail amount.??

But prosecutors listened to recorded jailhouse phone calls and said the Zimmermans talked about the money "in code to hide what they were doing."

Judge revokes bail for George Zimmerman

By concealing the defense contributions, Zimmerman benefited from a lower bond than he might have been granted had he and his family told the truth about how much money they really had, Lester said.

O'Mara said in a posting on the defense team's website that he would seek a new bond hearing, at which he would argue that "the vast majority" of the donated money was in an independently managed trust and that neither "Mr. Zimmerman or his attorneys have direct access to the money."

Wearing a casual, striped button-up shirt Sunday, O?Mara said that Zimmerman is concerned about his and his wife?s safety because of the ?enormous anger and frustration and hatred that has spurred from this case.?

George Zimmerman was expected to be back in jail later Sunday afternoon. NBC's Charles Hadlock reports from Sanford, Fla.

Full coverage of the Trayvon Martin case

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said Judge Lester's finding that Zimmerman was dishonest is "very important because his credibility is the most important thing in this entire case." Legal experts also told The Associated Press that the judge's questioning on Friday could undermine Zimmerman's credibility in trial. ?

On the defense team's website, O'Mara wrote: "The defense team hopes that Mr. Zimmerman's voluntary surrender to Sanford police will help demonstrate to the court that he is not a flight risk."

But at Sunday's news conference, O'Mara added: ?As Mr. Crump said, there?s a credibility issue that needs to be rehabilitated by explaining away why they did what they did, if that?s what happened.?'s Isolde Raftery contributed to this report.

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