Six weeks after being released from jail on bond, George Zimmerman, who is facing second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin, is back in police custody.
Mr. Zimmerman turned himself in to the authorities in Sanford, Fla., early Sunday afternoon, according to a blog post from his lawyer, Mark O’Mara. Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. had revoked his bond two days earlier and gave him 48 hours to surrender to the authorities.
In revoking the bond, Judge Lester found that Mr. Zimmerman had misled the court about his finances, with the help of his wife, during his April bond hearing.
At the time, Mr. Zimmerman had access to as much as $135,000 from a PayPal account that collected donations through a legal defense Web site. But Mr. Zimmerman’s wife testified that she was unaware of how much money had been collected through the site. Because it was believed that Mr. Zimmerman had no money, he was released on a low bond of $150,000.
As evidence, prosecutors presented transcripts at Friday’s hearing of telephone conversations between Mr. Zimmerman, who was in jail, and his wife. They said the two were discussing in code what to do with the money.
Mr. O’Mara said that he was unaware of the money at the time of the first hearing and that he planned to ask for another bond hearing so that Mr. Zimmerman could explain himself to the judge.
“Judge Lester runs a very tight courtroom, as well he should,” Mr. O’Mara said after the ruling. “He didn’t believe they were being as straightforward and honest as he wanted them to.”
The death of Mr. Martin, 17, on Feb. 26 created a national controversy after the police declined to arrest Mr. Zimmerman for over a month, raising questions about racial profiling and Florida’s self-defense law.
Mr. Zimmerman said that the unarmed teenager attacked him and that he was in such fear for his life that he was forced to shoot Mr. Martin. Mr. Zimmerman had a license to carry a concealed weapon.
While witnesses heard shouts and saw figures fighting outside their windows, the rain and darkness made it difficult to see clearly. As a result, Mr. Zimmerman’s account of what happened that evening as Mr. Martin walked through a gated community in Sanford back to the home of his father’s girlfriend is critical to Mr. Zimmerman’s self-defense case.
Judge Lester’s reversal on the bond will allow prosecutors to cast doubt on Mr. Zimmerman’s story, experts said.
“The fact George Zimmerman was dishonest is very important because his credibility is the most important thing in this entire case,” Benjamin Crump, the Martin family lawyer, said after Friday’s court session.
Mr. O’Mara said that Mr. Zimmerman’s safety was still a concern. He has been in hiding since shortly after the shooting. While he was in jail awaiting his April bond hearing, he was kept in solitary confinement to protect him from other prisoners.
“We are very concerned about safety still, and we will maintain that concern,” Mr. O’Mara said after learning his client would be forced to return to jail. “There are ongoing threats and concerns and complaints. I don’t know where along the spectrum they become true threats. We have begun to process and analyze a number of the statements he has given to the police.”