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Post Partisan
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 07/09/2012

Did George Zimmerman try to get away with murder?


Supporters of George Zimmerman don’t like my raising questions about his story of how he came to kill Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26. They jump on any and every story on Trayvon’s past — some true, some erroneous, some flat-out false — to justify Zimmerman taking the life of the unarmed 17-year-old. Yet, when it comes to Zimmerman’s questionable present-day actions that led to his bond being revoked and a stiffer one being imposed, these same supporters are mute.

Yes, Trayvon had been suspended from school in Miami three times. Once for excessive tardiness and truancy. Once for graffiti. And once for being found with a plastic baggie that had traces of marijuana. There was also the case of campus security finding twelve pieces of women’s jewelry in his backpack that he said belonged to a friend, but refused to give a name to school officials. Trayvon’s parents say they didn’t know about this incident. But Miami-Dade Police told the Associated Press in March that none of the jewelry matched any reported stolen. Trayvon was never disciplined in that incident.

Photos released of a more sinister-looking Trayvon seemed to bolster the unfounded view that he was a thug looking for trouble. The only problem was those photos were not of Trayvon and came from questionable sources. That Trayvon was found with negligible traces of marijuana in his system the night he was killed provided another reason for Zimmerman’s supporters to crow. Still, none of this mattered that rainy night in Sanford, Fla., or today.

When Zimmerman and Trayvon had their fatal confrontation, the neighborhood watch volunteer who thought Trayvon was “a real suspicious guy” who was “up to no good or he’s on drugs or something” knew nothing about the hoodie-wearing teen. But since that night, we’ve learned a lot about Zimmerman that truly matters in the second-degree murder case against him.


George Zimmerman appears for a bond hearing at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, June 29, 2012. (REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Pool )

Let’s leave aside some of the things we know about Zimmerman that pre-date the night he killed Trayvon, such as Zimmerman’s 2005 arrest for “resisting officer with violence” or the restraining order his ex-fiance filed against him that same year, citing domestic violence. I’ll even grudgingly set aside his 46 calls over the last eight years to police reporting all manner of suspicious activity involving black males.

Since Zimmerman’s arrest, we’ve learned that there was serious skepticism of his version of events. Zimmerman claims to have had his head slammed into the sidewalk several times. Yet, his own medical report, conducted the day after the shooting because he needed it and a police report to return to work, described his head injuries as “normocephalic, atraumatic.” That’s doc speak for “normal.”

And then there’s Zimmerman’s bail issues. He and his wife pleaded poverty in April and got a $150,000 bond as a result. But when prosecutors proved that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie were hiding money derived from donations from supporters and a second passport, Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman’s bond. Shellie was arrested and charged with perjury last month. She will be arraigned later this month.

When Lester imposed the $1 million bond on July 5, he made it clear that he was sure Zimmerman and his wife were preparing to leave the country.

Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system....The defendant has tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so.....
Contrary to the image presented by the defendant not by evidence but only by argument of counsel, it appears to this court that the defendant is manipulating the system to his own benefit. The evidence is clear the defendant and his wife acted in concert, but primarily at the defendant's direction, to conceal their cash holdings....
The defendant also neglected to disclose that he had a valid second passport in his safe deposit box. Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee. It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money....
This court finds that circumstances indicate that the defendant was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution, but such plans were thwarted....
The increased bail is not a punishment. It is meant to allay the court’s concern that the defendant intended to flee the jurisdiction, and a lesser amount would not ensure his presence in court.

Zimmerman has a 6 p.m-to-6 a.m. curfew. He will be electronically monitored. He cannot open a bank account. He cannot apply for or get a passport. He cannot be on the property of an airport. He must remain in Seminole County. He must check in with law enforcement every 48 hours.

Zimmerman’s supporters cling to the belief that Trayvon was a thug because of mostly false reports about his past. Yet, they willingly ignore his troubling present-day actions that Lester judged to be Zimmerman preparing to escape prosecution. If Zimmerman didn’t do anything wrong, why was he trying to run?

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 07/09/2012

Tags:  Trayvon Martin

 
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