SANFORD, Fla. - George Zimmerman appeared before a judge on a second-degree murder charge at the Seminole County jail on Thursday for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense during a Feb. 26 confrontation.
During the brief appearance, Zimmerman stood up straight and wore a gray prison jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer "Yes, sir," after he was asked basic questions about the charge against him and his attorney.
The judge told Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara that he must set up a bond hearing in order to address the issue, meaning Zimmerman will remain in jail without bond.
Judge Mark E. Herr said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and that an arraignment would be held on May 29 at 1:30 p.m. before another judge.
His attorney said he will request a bond hearing between now and Zimmerman's arraignment date.
Zimmerman showed no emotion as his eyes darted around the room at the Seminole County jail, where a judge confirmed there is probable cause to charge him with second-degree murder.
He is visibly slimmer and was calm as the judge asked questions.
"You are represented by Mr. O'Mara, is that true?" asked Judge Mark E. Herr.
"Yes sir, yes sir," Zimmerman replied.
O'Mara said he did not push for a bond because he's still working to find a safe place for Zimmerman.
Zimmerman had been in hiding until Wednesday when he turned himself in.
At the jail, he's in solitary confinement for safety reasons.
Thousands around the world pushed for his arrest.
"He's tired. It's been a long period of time here. He's gone through some tribulations of his own," said O'Mara.
Zimmerman told police Martin confronted him, and then beat him up, but an arrest affidavit allegedly contradicts that.
On a national talk show, Martin's mother said, "I believe it was an accident. I believe it just got out of control."
Some viewers interpreted Sybrina Fulton's remark to mean she was referring to the shooting, but she said that isn't what she meant. Fulton said the encounter between Martin and Zimmerman was the accident.
Zimmerman turned himself in to Jacksonville law enforcement officials on Wednesday night.
WFTV captured the FDLE caravan of unmarked cars pull into the jail and rush him in.
Zimmerman tried to hide his face from the cameras.
"Did you mean to kill Trayvon Martin, George?" WFTV reporter Kathi Belich asked.
Zimmerman did not respond.
Special prosecutor Angela Corey charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
"Was there one single piece of evidence that led you to charge him?" WFTV reporter Daralene Jones asked.
"We don't discuss the evidence in a case. It would be improper to do so," replied Corey.
Corey wouldn't elaborate about how she came to her decision, but that was of no importance to Martin's parents who watched her announcement from Washington D.C.
"We just wanted an arrest, and we got it, and I say thank you. Thank you Lord, thank you Jesus," said Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton.
Zimmerman chose O'Mara as his legal counsel after abandoning his former attorneys, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner.
"I just want to visit him and see how he's doing. I'm sure he's scared," O'Mara said.
O'Mara said Zimmerman will plead not guilty.
WFTV spoke with members of the Sanford community and found a unanimous sense of relief that Zimmerman was arrested.
"Justice has prevailed!" said supporter Tim Anderson.
"It was long overdue and I was glad they finally decided to do something," said Roxanna Scott, who came from Chicago to celebrate.
Before the announcement was made that Zimmerman would be charged, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed there is an ongoing federal investigation into the Trayvon Martin case.
"Although I cannot say where our current efforts will lead us from here, I can assure you that in this investigation, and in all cases, we will examine the facts and the law," he said.
During an event in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Holder said appropriate action will be taken if civil rights violations are found in Martin's death.
Holder said the justice department is meeting with local law enforcement officials and community members about this case.
Because of the influx of calls from the public about the death of Martin, the city of Sanford has set up an information center to offer some answers and take public records requests. You can call them at 407-562-2778. The team will answer calls between 7 a.m. and midnight.
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