By Jennifer Kay, AP
MIAMI — George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, turned himself in to police Sunday and was booked into jail after having his bail revoked two days earlier.
The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sparked protests across the U.S., and spurred debate about whether race was a factor in Zimmerman’s actions and in the initial police handling of the case. Martin was black; Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is from Peru.
Zimmerman’s legal team said in a tweet that he was in police custody. Zimmerman’s bail was revoked because the judge said he and his wife lied to the court about their finances so he could obtain a lower bond.
On Sunday afternoon, about 40 minutes before the 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) deadline to surrender, Zimmerman was listed as an inmate on the jail website. He was listed as being held without bail and having US$500 in his jail account.
Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger said Zimmerman turned himself in to two sheriff’s office employees around 1:25 p.m. near the jail, and was then driven to the jail. Zimmerman arrived in a white minivan and did not respond to questions from reporters as he walked inside, handcuffed and wearing blue jeans, sneakers and a button-down shirt.
“He is quiet and cooperative,” Eslinger said at a news conference after Zimmerman’s surrender.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said Zimmerman would be in a cell by himself, separated from the general population, because the case is so high-profile. The 67-square-foot (6.2-square-meter) cell is equipped with a toilet, two beds, a mattress, pillow, blanket and bed sheets. Zimmerman will not have access to a TV.
Prosecutors had said Zimmerman and his wife Shellie told the judge at a bond hearing in April that they had limited money, even though he had raised about US$135,000 through a website. Defense attorneys said the matter was a misunderstanding.
During a bond hearing in April, the couple had indicated they had limited funds. But prosecutors say Zimmerman had raised thousands through a website he had set up for his legal defense.
Zimmerman’s legal team said Sunday that they will ask for a new bond hearing to address those concerns, and that they hope Zimmerman’s voluntary surrender will show he is not a flight risk. Furthermore, the money Zimmerman has raised is in an independent trust and cannot be directly accessed by Zimmerman or his attorneys, according to the press release.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge.