The killing of Trayvon Martin provoked a national debate on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, but on Monday George Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, said, “The facts don’t seem to support a ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense.” O’Mara now claims that the incident actually is just a basic self-defense case, since Zimmerman didn’t have the option to retreat. “People look at ‘stand your ground’ and immediately think somebody’s standing there with deadly force — be it a gun or a weapon — and having the opportunity to back up but not having the need to under the statute,” said O’Mara. “I think the evidence in this case suggests that my client was reacting to having his nose broken and reacted to that by screaming out for help.” Though, that doesn’t mean O’Mara is withdrawing his request for a “Stand Your Ground” hearing.
While previously O’Mara said he’d use the Florida statute to argue for having the murder charges against Zimmerman dropped, the Associated Press reports that he now says that won’t be a part of his defense strategy. “I think the facts seem to support that though we have a stand-your-ground immunity hearing, what this really is, is a simple, self-defense immunity hearing,” said O’Mara. The pretrial hearing could lead to the charges against Zimmerman being dismissed immediately by a judge rather than being decided by a jury.
In another surprising reversal, O’Mara now claims that his client is so poor that he may have him declared indigent so the state will pay his legal expenses. Though at one point Zimmerman had raised $250,000 in donations, according to the Orlando Sentinel, O’Mara says Zimmerman is unemployed and spending so much on security that he “really has to live as a hermit.” There’s only $60,000 left in his defense fund, and he has $20,000 in bills that have yet to be paid. Of course, Zimmerman already had his bond revoked for lying about being poor, but it seems the defense isn’t concerned about being challenged with the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” argument.