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Trayvon Martin case: George Zimmerman to seek bail; now, he waits

April 13, 2012|By Michael Muskal

George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, will seek a bail hearing on April 20, his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, told reporters Friday. Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Zimmerman is lodged in a 67-square-foot cell, reportedly working crossword puzzles and eating chocolate creme cookies and root beer barrels.

Zimmerman briefly appeared in court on Wednesday to formally hear the charges against him. He's accused in the Feb. 26 shooting death of Martin, an unarmed African American 17-year-old, in Sanford, Fla. According to a probable cause affidavit by investigators, Zimmerman “profiled” Martin, 17, and began following him before the shooting.

Based on the affidavit, the judge bumped the case up to the Circuit Court, which will deal with all issues, including taking the expected not-guilty plea and bail request. O’Mara had indicated late Thursday that he was expecting to seek bail for Zimmerman next week.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman, who had been hiding in fear of his life during much of the weeks since the shooting, remains in the Polk Correctional Facility. He is being housed in administrative confinement, segregated from the general population, “due to the high-profile nature of the case,” officials said in a statement released to the media.

Florida officials have released numerous documents on the case and they paint a portrait of a man undergoing a typical, if lonely, incarceration despite the case’s notoriety. Zimmerman, with four tattoos, is described in the booking report as 5 feet, 8 inches tall and a trim 185 pounds; early photographs used by the media in the case had depicted a heavier man.

Zimmerman’s cell, at the equivalent of slightly more than eight paces in each direction, is designed to hold two inmates, officials said. It has a toilet and two beds; a mattress, pillow, bedsheets and blanket are provided.

There is no access to television, and inmates are not allowed to smoke. Inmates do have access to books and periodicals, and Bibles are permitted. Zimmerman has already purchased playing cards, a crossword puzzle book and a word-search puzzle book, according to his commissary order released by officials.

Zimmerman was forced to pay a $10 booking fee and will be charged a daily $3 subsistence fee. Inmates are provided three meals a day, with an average daily calorie count of a fairly hefty 2,834. Serving times typically start at 4 a.m. for breakfast, 10:30 a.m. for lunch and 4 p.m. for dinner, officials said.

To supplement those meals and to help fill the empty hours, inmates can buy snacks at the commissary and Zimmerman has already purchased a strawberry Nutrigrain bar, white cheddar pop-corn, Frito-Tostito’s chips, chocolate creme cookies, beef sticks, peanut butter/jelly combo, root beer barrels and Jolly Ranchers. He also bought a fruit punch drink.

Working those calories off could be a problem, though. Inmates are scheduled for just three hours of recreation a week.

Inmates are permitted to purchase items from the commissary once a week, officials said.

Zimmerman has purchased $79.84 in items, including food, clothes and grooming products. He has a balance of $41.16.

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Michael.muskal@latimes.com

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