Not guilty plea entered over Florida teen shooting

The Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder over the high-profile shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin entered a plea of not guilty on Monday.

"The defendant, by and through his undersigned attorney, enters a written plea of not guilty to the charges now pending against him," read a court document waiving George Zimmerman's right to appear at his May 8 arraignment.

The plea came hours after Zimmerman was released from jail on a $150,000 bond, pending trial. He is believed to be residing out of the state for his own safety after receiving a string of threats in the racially-charged case.

Television pictures showed the 28-year-old, wearing jeans and a bulky brown jacket that appeared to conceal a bullet-proof vest, leaving a jail in Sanford, Florida shortly after midnight and stepping into a white car.

His release followed a dramatic court hearing on Friday in which he unexpectedly took the stand and apologized directly to the victim's parents, who dismissed it afterwards through a lawyer as insincere and "self-serving."

Prosecutors say 17-year-old Martin was simply "minding his own business" when he was accosted and shot dead by Zimmerman in late February after buying some candy and a bottle of iced tea from a local store in Sanford.

Zimmerman maintains he was acting in self-defense as Martin assaulted him.

Martin's family and supporters allege he was a victim of racial profiling, and the case sparked angry demonstrations in black communities across the country when police initially decided not to press charges.

Sanford city commissioners voted Monday to reject police chief Bill Lee's resignation after he offered to step down permanently because of the controversy.

Zimmerman, who surrendered his passport and is wearing electronic monitoring tags, is believed to have gone into hiding in a different state after receiving death threats over the killing of Martin on February 26.

Martin's family said it respected the judicial process but were "devastated by him being able to walk the streets," attorney Daryl Parks told CNN.

"It's with a very, very heavy heart that they've seen him walk freely late last night back into the public," Parks said.

Zimmerman admits tracking Martin through a gated Sanford community after viewing him as suspicious, but insists he shot purely in self-defense after being assaulted.

Police initially declined to arrest him, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law that allows deadly shooting if in self defense.

Zimmerman apologized to Martin's parents at Friday's hearing, telling them in his first public comments since the shooting: "I'm sorry for the loss of your son."

But the family expressed anger after the proceedings, both at the apology and at the judge's decision to allow Zimmerman to be released pending trial.

Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda had urged the judge to deny bail or at least put it at $1 million.

Judge Kenneth Lester ultimately set bail at $150,000 but imposed conditions including electronic GPS tracking, a dusk-to-dawn curfew and a requirement for him to report every three days to the authorities.

Zimmerman had to post 10 percent of the bail amount, or $15,000, to make bail.

Dale Gilbreath, an investigator in the case, acknowledged at Friday's hearing that there was no direct evidence to say who threw the first blow in the confrontation, other than the fact Zimmerman had been following Martin.

If convicted, Zimmerman could face life in prison.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options