George Zimmerman just made his first court appearance in a Sanford, Florida courtroom today in the case of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
During the brief appearance, Zimmerman stood up straight, looked straight ahead and wore a gray prison jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer “Yes, sir,” twice after he was asked basic questions about the charge against him and his attorney.
Judge Mark E. Herr said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and that an arraignment would be held on May 29th before another judge.
At a press conference following the court appearance, [Zimmerman's attorney] Mark O’Mara said bond will be set “in the next few weeks.” Zimmerman is expected to enter a not guilty plea. O’Mara also said they still have to figure out a place for Zimmerman “to go safely” if he is released ahead of trial, which they are still working on.
Zimmerman will remain in jail up until his arraignment.
Meanwhile, Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, clarified a comment she made earlier on the TODAY show where she said she believed the shooting was an accident. Sybrina told The Associated Press that she was referring to the chance encounter between Zimmerman and her son.
“Their meeting was the accident,” Fulton said. “That was the accident. Not the actual act of him shooting him. That was murder … They were never supposed to meet.”
The prosecutor and her team will have to prove that the 28-year-old Zimmerman intentionally went after Martin instead of shooting him in self-defense, to refute arguments that a Florida law empowered him to use deadly force.
Legal experts said Corey chose a tough route with the murder charge, which could send Zimmerman to prison for life if he’s convicted, over manslaughter, which usually carries 15-year prison terms and covers reckless or negligent killings.