Trayvon Martin murder suspect wants GPS monitor removed

SANFORD, Florida Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:34pm IST

George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, looks on during his hearing at the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Florida on October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/POOL/Files

George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, looks on during his hearing at the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Florida on October 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/POOL/Files

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SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - Accused murderer George Zimmerman will ask a Florida judge on Tuesday to let him remove his GPS monitoring device and travel freely within the state pending his June 2013 trial in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman, 29, has been confined to Seminole County under a $1 million bond since July, when a judge concluded that he presented false information about his assets and was a flight risk.

Zimmerman and his wife Shellie, who is charged with perjury for allegedly lying to the judge about the couple's finances, live in hiding and "in fear of violence," according to a 74-page motion filed by his lawyer, Mark O'Mara.

O'Mara argued that Zimmerman needs the flexibility to travel for his personal safety and to be available to assist his lawyers in meetings with witnesses.

Judge Debra Nelson set aside three hours to hear this and seven other motions filed by O'Mara, most requesting access to potential evidence.

At the time of the shooting on February 26, Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford.

Prosecutors contend he profiled Martin, a black 17-year-old who was returning with snacks to the townhouse in which he was staying with his father to watch the NBA finals.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman pursued, confronted and killed Martin. Zimmerman is expected to claim self-defense under Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, which makes it difficult to prosecute a shooter who claims self-defense.

The tension between the prosecution and defense is apparent in their written arguments to be heard on Tuesday concerning the identity of the person heard screaming for help just before Martin was killed.

O'Mara complained in one of his motions that prosecutors withheld what he called exculpatory evidence, about an investigator who allegedly overheard Martin's father failing to identify the voice heard in the background of a 911 call as that of his son.

"The primary issue of this case, if not the sole issue to be decided, either by this court at a self-defense immunity hearing or by a jury at trial is whether George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense. As such, the issue of whether it was George Zimmerman screaming for help ... is utterly significant," O'Mara wrote.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, who denies withholding evidence, argued that conflicts in Zimmerman's accounts of the shooting are more relevant.

"An objective person might place more significance and think it more important why defendant, an armed man, would follow an unarmed teenager after being told by police not to do so," de la Rionda wrote. "An unbiased person might also want to know how it is possible for defendant to be crying for help when he claims his mouth was covered by victim's hand." (Editing by Jane Sutton and Christopher Wilson)

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