NPR logo Zimmerman Appears In Florida Court On Second-Degree Murder Charge

Zimmerman Appears In Florida Court On Second-Degree Murder Charge

Charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman made his first court appearance Thursday. He has maintained that he acted in self-defense when he shot Martin, an unarmed teenager, in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman, 28, was arrested Wednesday, when special prosecutor Angela Corey also announced that he would face a charge of second-degree murder. Along with his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, went before Judge Mark Herr in a Seminole County, Fla., courtroom Thursday.

Wearing a dark open-collar shirt and standing with his hands cuffed in front of his waist, Zimmerman was told that his formal arraignment would be held on May 29.

Update at 1:58 p.m. EDT: After Zimmerman exited the hearing, his attorney asked Judge Herr to seal certain records — including information and statements from witnesses in the case. As The Orlando Sentinel reports, the judge agreed.

Zimmerman only spoke once during his time in court, seemingly to affirm basic information about the hearing and his legal representation.

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The AP quotes O'Mara as saying earlier Thursday on NBC's Today show:

"He is concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation.... He is a client who has a lot of hatred focused on him. I'm hoping the hatred settles down... he has the right to his own safety and the case being tried before a judge and jury."

O'Mara also said that Zimmerman hopes to be freed from jail so he can help to prepare his defense.

As The Two-Way reported earlier today, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, said she would like to tell George Zimmerman that he should apologize and that "I believe it was an accident. It just got out of control and he couldn't turn the clock back."