Conflict & Tragedy
Zimmerman absent as lawyer enters not guilty plea in Trayvon Martin shooting
[5.8.12, Sanford, Florida]--George Zimmerman was a "no-show" for his arraignment in a Sanford, Fla., courtroom on Tuesday. Lawyer Mark O'Mara reportedly entered a plea of "Not Guilty" on his behalf.
The 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has disappeared since being released on $150,000 bond. Defense attorney O'Mara said his client was in hiding for his safety and probably would not show up until the official start of his trial.
Last week, O'Mara set up GZLegalCase, a website where supporters of Zimmerman could go to donate money towards his defense or ask questions about the case. Twitter and Facebook accounts were also set up, which is highly unusual in a murder case.
Before that, Zimmerman was raked over the coals in the media for collecting more than $200,000 dollars through his first website and not revealing this to the court. His bail was less than the amount he had sitting in a PayPal account and many thought the presiding judge Kenneth Lester would have thrown the book at him.
No such thing happened. In fact, to date, the judge has done absolutely nothing about that clear subterfuge for his family and lawyer had pleaded lack of funds at the hearing.
Meanwhile, another case in the same state of Florida is garnering attention for critics say there are parallels. Zimmerman was arrested and charged 45 days after killing Trayvon Martin and many attribute the legal action to public outrage and protests. Zimmerman had used Florida's Stand Your Ground law to escape arrest and charges.
31-year-old mother of three, Marissa Alexander, who was arrested the same day the incident happened, now sits in a Jacksonville jail, facing a 20-year-sentence after being convicted of three counts of aggravated assault without the intent to harm. Without the intent to harm--that is because Marissa reportedly fired her gun into a wall to warn off her abusive husband who had tried to strangle her earlier that day. No one was killed or even hurt.
Husband Rico Gray has recanted what he told police after calling them on August 1, 2010, when the incident occured.--that Marissa was trying to kill him and his two sons. He admitted to being abusive. In fact he said he usually "put his hand on all of his five baby mamas, except one" yet prosecution went ahead with the case. It reportedly took the jury only 11 minutes to convict the young mother.
She now she sits in jail after the judge denied her a new trial last Friday. The NAACP and several advocacy groups have tried to get judge James Daniels to look at "Stand Your Ground," law for they felt it applied in Marissa's case. She was standing her ground against a known abuser.
Judge Daniels did not see it that way and neither did Angela Corey, the initial state prosecutor on the case and claimed Marissa could have escaped through a back door or window. Incidentally she is the same state attorney who charged Zimmerman.