Zimmerman, Florida teen's shooter, wears disguise: lawyer

Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:10am EST

George Zimmerman arrives for a hearing in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Pool

George Zimmerman arrives for a hearing in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida February 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Burbank/Pool

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(Reuters) - George Zimmerman, the man whose fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin a year ago captured the nation's attention, wears a disguise or body armor in public as he feels threatened, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Zimmerman remains in hiding and "can't go out in public without wearing a disguise or body armor," defense attorney Mark O'Mara told CNN.

Zimmerman claims to have mistaken Martin, who was 17, for a burglar and to have shot him in self defense after a confrontation on February 26, 2012.

After police initially questioned and released Zimmerman, citing Florida's so-called Stand Your Ground gun law, celebrity protests and nationwide public demonstrations prompted a re-investigation that led to his arrest for murder.

Martin's parents attended a one-year anniversary vigil in New York City late Tuesday, and continued their call for stricter gun laws nationwide.

Passed in 2005, Florida's Stand Your Ground law allows people to use lethal force in self-defense. Numerous states have since passed similar laws.

Critics of the law say it encourages vigilantes and fosters gun violence.

The uproar after Martin's killing led the local police chief to step aside and the governor to appoint a special prosecutor, who charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

The trial is scheduled for June.

O'Mara will ask a judge to dismiss the charges on the grounds of self-defense, at a much-anticipated pre-trial hearing on April 29.

O'Mara said Martin badly beat Zimmerman after a confrontation inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida.

"George didn't have an opportunity to retreat, so calling this a 'Stand Your Ground' hearing in not accurate," O'Mara told CNN Wednesday.

O'Mara said Zimmerman was "very stressed (and) very worried" about the trial and has remained in hiding for the past year.

(Reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Bernadette Baum)

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Comments (24)
lemonfemale wrote:
The above comment is way out of line.
This case is where it ought to be- in court. And as the article correctly notes, since Zimmerman could not retreat, being on his back on the ground- Stand Your Ground has nothing to do with it. Trayvon was 17 and well built: Zimmerman was photographed with a broken nose and looking scuffed up. Under my state’s law (AK) he could not claim self-defense if he started the fight. That’s for the court. It was not racial profiling so much as the fact Trayvon looked like people responsible for a wave of burglaries and one home invasion. Not Zimmerman’s fault those people were black. The edited 911 tape and the nonsense term “white Hispanic” to describe a Hispanic man with a non-Hispanic last name were real racism, not his profiling. IMO

Feb 27, 2013 1:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Redeemed wrote:
Mistrust among blacks is understandable given the bad history against them. The problem now, however, comes from miscreants like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who take advantage of that mistrust to use against innocent people in defense of criminal behavior. Zimmerman was falsely tried and convicted by Sharpton and Jackson in the media long before any of the evidence was brought before the court. As usual, Sharpton and Jackson should have kept their mouths shut and let the legal system do its job.

Feb 27, 2013 1:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
aberdeenvet wrote:
This website’s description of Zimmerman’s confrontation with Martin would make any suspect very cautious when foraying in public, especially since Martin’s supporters have already expressed various degrees of violent threats on Zimmerman’s existence.

Feb 27, 2013 1:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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