ORLANDO, Fla. - George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch leader accused of killing Trayvon Martin, said in an appeal filed Tuesday that he fears Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester is biased against him and he wants a new judge to preside over his case.
The appeal, in which Zimmerman claims Lester has made disparaging remarks about him, was filed with the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.
WFTV has learned of the three appellate judges who will decide whether Zimmerman will get a new judge.
Appeal judges Jay Cohen and Alan Lawson, both of Orange County, and Kerry Evander, of Brevard, will decide whether Lester stays or goes.
Lawyers for Zimmerman filed a 28-page motion filled with reasons why Zimmerman doesn’t believe Lester will give him a fair trial.
“The judge gave it to Zimmerman in his order,” said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer. “The defense is giving it right back.”
The defense slammed Lester for repeated comments that Zimmerman was "manipulating the system” and for holding the possibility of more charges, including contempt of court.
“More judges have been removed for saying less than Judge Lester said,” said Sheaffer. “I don't see any wiggle room for the appellate court to do anything but order Judge Lester to step down from this case.”
The defense also challenged Lester's neutrality after he called the state's case "strong” and characterized Martin as an unarmed juvenile while the judge ignored evidence that Zimmerman yelled for help for 40 seconds and that Martin broke his nose and bloodied his head with blows against concrete.
Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and says he acted in self-defense.