By MIKE SCHNEIDER
ORLANDO, Fla. — Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was released from jail Friday for a second time while he awaits his second-degree murder trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman left the Seminole County Jail a day after Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester granted a $1 million bail with strict conditions. He wore a white shirt and dress jacket as he walked out and got into an SUV, ignoring shouted questions from nearby reporters.
The judge is requiring Zimmerman to stay in Seminole County. He was allowed to leave Florida after his first release in April. Now he must be electronically monitored, can’t open a bank account, obtain a passport or set foot on the grounds of the local airport. He has a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
“He’s very happy to be out,” Don West, one of Zimmerman’s attorneys, told reporters outside the jail. “Certainly it’s been a sobering experience spending the last month in jail in that kind of environment.”
Zimmerman had been released on a $150,000 bond in April in the shooting of the unarmed black teenager, but the judge revoked it last month after prosecutors presented evidence that he and his wife misled the court about how much money they had available to pay for the bond. They didn’t tell the judge that donations from a website for Zimmerman’s legal defense had raised around $135,000 at the time of his first bond hearing.
Prosecutors argued Zimmerman and his wife talked in code during recorded jailhouse conversations about how to transfer the donations to different bank accounts. For example, George Zimmerman at one point asked how much money they had. She replied “$155.” Prosecutors allege that was code for $155,000. Their reference to “Peter Pan” was code for the PayPal system through which the donations were made, prosecutors said.
Shortly before Zimmerman’s release, the Rev. Al Sharpton criticized Zimmerman for raising money through online donations. The civil rights leader and talk-show host was in New Orleans with Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.