George Zimmerman in court last week. (Gary W. Green / European…)
The website George Zimmerman created to raise funds for his defense against charges in the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shut down this week, Zimmerman's attorney said Wednesday.
The site started up this month to raise funds for the defense of Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin, an African American. Zimmerman, the son of a Latina, has apologized for killing Martin, 17, saying he acted in self-defense when their paths crossed on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.
When he first established the site, Zimmerman, 28, said he linked it to PayPal in order to raise funds for his defense.
“I reassure you every donation is appreciated,” he wrote. He also said that his site was the only one he had and warned against others who were soliciting money on his behalf.
The official site was disabled this week. Visitors now see the message “Sorry! This site is not currently available.” A magnifying glass enlarges the word “not” for emphasis.
The website was taken down at the behest of Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, according to his spokesman, James Woods.
“It was taken down at Mark's request, and he will not have any future online presence unless authorized in advance by Mark,” Woods said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times.
He said he had no information about how much money the website had raised.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin, who was returning from a convenience store with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. Zimmerman was initially taken to Sanford police headquarters and released without being charged.
But weeks of protests followed, prompting a national debate on race and guns. Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed Angela Corey as special prosecutor in the case.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and released on a $150,000 bond Sunday. His whereabouts are unknown.
Zimmerman does not come from a wealthy family, and O’Mara has hinted that he will ask the court to declare his client indigent, allowing the state to pay for his defense.
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