George Zimmerman Pleads Not Guilty, Waives Right to Speedy Trial
George Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin and waived his right to a speedy trial on Tuesday.
Arguing to a Florida court that he needs more time to prepare for trial, his move means it could be October at the earliest before it gets underway.
Zimmerman’s intentions were outlined in two brief documents that his attorney, Mark O’Mara, filed Tuesday in Seminole County, Fla., circuit court.
The actions did not come as a surprise to legal experts, who said such moves are common even in less-complex and lower-profile felony cases.
Florida law requires suspects charged with a felony be brought to trial within 175 days of their arrest, unless those defendants ask that the right be waived.
Zimmerman was released from jail after posting $ 150,000 bond last month.
The 28-year-old turned himself in to authorities on April 11, charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager on February 26.
Martin was walking in Zimmerman’s neighborhood in Sanford, Fla., and for reasons only he truly knows, considered him to be suspicious.
Law enforcement officials’ initial reluctance to arrest Zimmerman sparked a national outcry, with many observers suspecting that Zimmerman was given a break because of his race, and the race of the young man he fatally shot.
The case has also shined a light on mainstream media bias, highlighted by NBC’s editing of the 911 call from the night of the fatal altercation.
He admits he shot Martin, 17, but claims he did so in self-defense.
He pleaded not guilty in court documents, making his appearance unnecessary at a Tuesday arraignment hearing. At his first pre-trial hearing following his arrest, he surprised many by apologizing to Martin’s family.