SANFORD, Fla. - A judge ruled that George Zimmerman, who's charged with murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, must remain on GPS monitoring and cannot leave Seminole County.
Judge Debra Nelson heard several motions in the case on Tuesday, and Zimmerman appeared at the hearing wearing a suit coat and tie while sitting next to his lead attorney, Mark O'Mara. Nelson denied bond requests from Zimmerman's defense team.
Besides dropping the monitoring, the defense wanted Zimmerman to be able to live outside Seminole County.
"He goes out when he has to. He has a very strict curfew. He's adhered to that curfew. He's gained a little bit of weight, as many people noted in his last appearance," Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., said at a news conference after the hearing. "It's very hard to get exercise. It's very hard to do things with that thing on your ankle."
O'Mara said it's been frustrating for Zimmerman not to be able to leave the county as part of his bond condition. O'Mara said Zimmerman was not a threat to flee, and a probation officer testified that he's not had any problems with Zimmerman.
The state, however, reminded Nelson that Zimmerman previously lied to the court -- when another judge was overseeing the case -- about his ability to post bond.
"My guy deserves a good defense and he's going to get it," O'Mara said after the hearing. "I'm frustrated by someone who says he should stay in hiding while he's doing that. I'm also frustrated by people who still say, 'I want him dead.' Why? What's the point with that?"
O'Mara said his client lives in a constant state of fear. That's why he wanted Zimmerman to be able to live somewhere else in Florida while awaiting trial. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda disagreed and argued Zimmerman -- and the GPS device -- should stay right where they are.
"The defense says we need this because it's not safe. Not safe, not safe, defendant has to be in disguise. My recollection, he appeared on national TV, put his profile up," de la Rionda said. "Last time, this defendant came in the front and the media was following him. So many threats, can't have it both ways. Keep bringing up publicity, then argue that it's unsafe for him there. Maybe it's for autographs."
"I'm frustrated that he lives in hiding," O'Mara said. "He's absolutely broke. Needs money for a good defense and can't come up with it, and it being put upon by a prosecutor who starts yelling about publicity and autographs, and yet we have a very difficult time getting discovery."
Zimmerman's attorneys also sought copies of FBI communications with local investigators.
The next hearing in the case is set for Jan. 8.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin following an altercation in Sanford in February. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law.
"We're all constantly afraid. I'm afraid right here," Robert Zimmerman said. "I mean, this is a very secure area. It's the courthouse. We have to do things for our security all the time."
Zimmerman said he talks to his brother George often, but never about the death of Martin.
"We communicate, all of us. We all stay in touch," he said. "We do not ever talk about the case or about the events of that night anymore. It was something that obviously frustrated George in the beginning. He was very traumatized by what had happened."
"We talk about family things, not about the case, not about the proceedings," Zimmerman said. "George is entitled to his privacy, and our family is worried about him."
Last week, the state released more information in the case, including a photo showing Zimmerman with a bloody, swollen nose.
Nelson has set a trial date for June 10 and a "stand your ground" hearing for 45 days before trial.
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