SANFORD, Florida – It was a contentious scene in a Sanford courtroom today as Circuit Court Judge Debra S. Nelson, in the case involving murder suspect George Zimmerman, listened to the state’s presentation of its final motion before the case goes to trial in June.
Zimmerman was in court for the first time in three months and ordered, under oath, if he was giving up his rights for a “stand your ground” hearing.” Zimmerman confirmed that after consultation with his attorney he had made the decision not to file a pretrial immunity motion or have an immunity hearing in the Trayvon Martin murder case.
Prosecutors also want the judge to order an in-depth inquiry about Zimmerman’s reported waiving of an immunity hearing, which would let him claim self-defense without having to face a jury.
Attorneys for both sides had filed numerous motions for Circuit Judge Debra Nelson to consider including that the defense attorneys want the state prosecutors to be sanctioned over false language in one of their motions.
Zimmerman’s Defense attorneys also claimed prosecutors deliberately delayed depositions in March and pointed out that the state should be ordered to pay $4,555 in attorney fees as a result of the delay.
Prosecutors say they are not responsible for attorney fees.
Though it is clear that Zimmerman has waived his pretrial rights to a hearing on immunity the issue could still resurface at trial according to his attorney.
Such a proceeding could have potentially absolved Zimmerman of criminal wrongdoing for killing the 17-year-old unarmed African American, Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman is accused of shooting Martin during a February 2012 altercation in a gated community in Florida.
According to his statement made to police, the suspect said the shooting was in self-defense and justified under Florida law.
Martin’s parents have argued all along that their son was profiled and pursued, and subsequently murdered.
The case gained national attention because it highlighted a Florida gun law that allows for fatal shootings in instances of self-defense.
Today’s hearing also addressed several other issues surrounding discovery. The judge ordered the state to turn over all cell phone data for Trayvon or Zimmerman. Additionally, Judge Nelson ordered both sides to turn over any “cleaned up” or enhanced audio of the 911 call which captured screams leading up to the shooting. Zimmerman’s defense was given permission to add five more witnesses to their list, even though the deadline she set for new witnesses had passed.
Judge heard arguments on a defense request to release details about the more than one million dollar wrongful death settlement the Martin family received from Zimmerman’s homeowners association.
The Guardian Express acknowledges that today’s hearing is an ongoing news story and therefore any new developments will be forthcoming in later reports.
D. Chandler contributed to this report.