George Zimmerman won't seek immunity hearing
by Kyle Hightower, Associated Press
April 30, 2013 11:00 AM | 435 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
George Zimmerman, defendant in the killing of Trayvon Martin, arrives in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., with his attorney Mark O'Mara, left, for a pre-trial hearing, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. State attorney Bernie de la Rionda is presenting a motion to the judge Tuesday during what will likely be the final lengthy hearing prior to George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial in June. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
George Zimmerman, defendant in the killing of Trayvon Martin, arrives in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., with his attorney Mark O'Mara, left, for a pre-trial hearing, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. State attorney Bernie de la Rionda is presenting a motion to the judge Tuesday during what will likely be the final lengthy hearing prior to George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial in June. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
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SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The former neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin told a judge Tuesday that he agrees with his defense attorneys' decision not to seek an immunity hearing under the state's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law.

Under questioning from Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, Zimmerman repeatedly said "yes" to a series of questions asking if he was aware he was giving up the right to a hearing before his second-degree murder trial in June. A judge would have sole discretion in an immunity hearing to decide if Zimmerman is exempt from culpability in the shooting. A jury would make the determination in the murder trial.

"After consultation with my counsel, yes, your honor," Zimmerman said.

The judge had set aside two weeks at the end of April for an immunity hearing should Zimmerman want one. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda had filed a motion asking that Zimmerman make clear his intentions on whether he wanted the hearing.

Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the judge Tuesday there was nothing in the law that required the immunity hearing to take place before Zimmerman's trial and could be requested after prosecutors have presented their case.

"We'd much rather have the jury address the issue of criminal liability or lack thereof," O'Mara said.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense. Martin was fatally shot in February 2012 during a fight with Zimmerman in a Sanford gated community.

O'Mara also wanted the court to unseal details on a civil settlement Martin's parents received from Zimmerman's homeowner's association. O'Mara contended the settlement could influence the testimony of Martin's parents, if they are called as witnesses.

The judge said defense attorneys and prosecutors could see full copies of the settlement but the public would only be able to see a version from which some information has been removed.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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