Florida teenager's killer seeks to delay trial

ORLANDO, Florida Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:47pm EST

George Zimmerman talks with defense counsel Mark O'Mara at the Seminole County courthouse after a hearing in Sanford, Florida, December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/POOL

George Zimmerman talks with defense counsel Mark O'Mara at the Seminole County courthouse after a hearing in Sanford, Florida, December 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/POOL

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ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - George Zimmerman will seek to delay the start of his trial in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin to allow him more time to raise money for his defense, his attorney said on Wednesday.

Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lead defense attorney, said he planned to file a motion to request the trial, which is scheduled to start in June, be delayed by six months, arguing he needs more time and money to investigate the claims against his client.

"I think that we still need another $200,000 to $300,000," he told Reuters. "There's still a lot of investigation to do."

O'Mara said a separate request for the court to find Zimmerman indigent and eligible for state funding of defense expenses "may be on the horizon."

Zimmerman, who is out of jail on a $1 million bond, is living in hiding in central Florida pending the trial.

At the time of the shooting on February 26, Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watch captain in a gated community where Martin was staying with his father.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin as the teenager walked back to where he was staying, then pursued, confronted and killed him.

Zimmerman is expected to claim self defense under Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law which makes it difficult to prosecute a shooter who subsequently claims self defense.

A new Zimmerman defense fund website that went public on Wednesday provides a general accounting of expenditures and shows the fund has raised more than $314,000 since May 2012.

The money has been spent on Zimmerman's jail bond, security and legal costs, and almost $62,000 for Zimmerman's living expenses, according to the website.

As of this week, the fund balance was under $5,000, O'Mara said.

"I think there's enough money to pay rent (for Zimmerman) for the next month and some other living expenses and not much more than that," O'Mara said.

The defense fund is planning more aggressive fundraising, according to the website.

O'Mara said upcoming expenses include the hiring of four to seven more experts for the defense. Neither O'Mara or co-counsel Don West are being paid, according to the website.

The next court hearing on pending pre-trial issues is set for Tuesday.

(Editing by Kevin Gray and Tim Dobbyn)

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Comments (3)
gregbrew56 wrote:
Not a valid argument. That’s what Public Defenders are for.

His current lawyers should either go pro bono, or shut up and go away.

Jan 30, 2013 7:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Willie12345 wrote:
Killer ? or Assault Victim ? Pick your words very carefully.

Jan 31, 2013 12:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Willie12345 wrote:
Killer ? or Assault Victim ? Pick your words very carefully.

Jan 31, 2013 12:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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