Trayvon Martin killer makes another appeal for a new judge

ORLANDO, Florida Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:50am EDT

Undated handout photo shows George Zimmerman shortly after he killed Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged in the shooting death of the 17-year-old during a confrontation in a gated community on February 26, 2012. REUTERS/George Zimmerman Legal Case/Handout

Undated handout photo shows George Zimmerman shortly after he killed Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged in the shooting death of the 17-year-old during a confrontation in a gated community on February 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/George Zimmerman Legal Case/Handout

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ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The lawyer for George Zimmerman, who is charged in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, filed an appeal on Monday in a renewed attempt to seek a new judge in the case.

Mark O'Mara told reporters he asked a Florida appeals court to reconsider a ruling by Judge Kenneth Lester refusing to step down from the case.

In a motion filed last month, O'Mara claimed Lester made "gratuitous" and "disparaging remarks" about Zimmerman and showed bias in a July 5 ruling that raised Zimmerman's bond from $150,000 to $1 million.

The bond increase came after prosecutors presented evidence Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the judge about their finances. Shellie Zimmerman was later charged with perjury.

Zimmerman, 28, has pleaded not guiltly to second-degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of Martin. The teen was unarmed and walking back from a store when Zimmerman called a 911 dispatcher and said Martin looked suspicious.

Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self defense after he was attacked and Martin repeatedly slammed his head to the ground.

He is free on a $1 million bond and living in an undisclosed safe house near the central Florida city of Sanford awaiting trial.

"He really has to live as a hermit," said O'Mara. "He's not doing well. He's getting by."

O'Mara also said contributions to Zimmerman's legal defense fund have slowed.

O'Mara said the fund holds $50,000 to $60,000 and that $20,000 of the total is committed to outstanding bills. Neither of the Zimmermans is working or looking for jobs, he added.

"I don't think that he can be in public and, consequently, I don't think that she can be in public because there is a lot of hatred and animosity focused on them and you don't know when it might show up," O'Mara said.

(Editing by Kevin Gray and Cynthia Osterman)

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