Judge denies motion to recuse self in Zimmerman case



SANFORD, Fla. - A Central Florida judge says he's staying on the case of a neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing an unarmed teenager.
In a Wednesday ruling, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester denied a motion by George Zimmerman's defense attorney to disqualify himself because of disparaging remarks he made during a bond hearing.
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, filed the motion after the July 5 bond hearing during which Lester questioned Zimmerman's honesty and suggested he plotted to leave the country.
Zimmerman is accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin in a Sanford neighborhood in February.
Lester said Zimmerman "flaunted the system" by failing to disclose how much money he'd raised through donations and that it appeared he was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution for second-degree murder.

"I would expect, after 35 years, I have not seen one occasion where this motion to recuse has been filed, denied, and the defense not filed an appeal and not request the proceedings be stayed.  If they're stayed, this could further delay the Zimmerman case," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.

O'Mara said they are working on an appropriate response to the judge's order, but they are expected to appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Zimmerman is currently staying in an unknown location.

Meanwhile, Lester is hearing another case involving Florida's "stand your ground" law on Wednesday.

He is hearing the case of 43-year-old Anita Smithey, who claims she shot her husband while he was raping her in their Oviedo home on May 4, 2010.

Authorities said Smithey had been separated from 41-year-old Robert Cline III for three months.

According to police reports, Smithey claims Cline placed what she believed was a knife at her throat after accusing her of sleeping with someone else. She says she pulled a .38-caliber and pointed it at his midsection. When he leaned forward, the gun fired. Then she fired again.