State wants answer from Zimmerman on ‘stand your ground’ hearing


ORLANDO, Fla. — The state of Florida wants to know whether George Zimmerman plans to claim immunity from prosecution in the shooting of Trayvon Martin — before he goes to trial in the second-degree murder case.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda’s new motion asks Circuit Judge Debra Nelson to conduct a “full inquiry” of Zimmerman, and confirm whether he’s waiving his right to a hearing under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

In the case’s early stages, defense attorney Mark O’Mara “made efforts to publicly assert that (Zimmerman) would be making a self-defense claim” and would request a hearing, the motion notes.

However, O’Mara later told Nelson he wouldn’t need the two weeks the judge had set aside for a “stand your ground” hearing. O’Mara has also floated the possibility of combining the hearing and trial.

De la Rionda says Zimmerman needs to make up his mind: The state opposes combining the hearing and trial, and doesn’t want Zimmerman to be able to claim immunity after trial, if he’s convicted.

De la Rionda’s filing suggests the motion will be addressed at a hearing next week: He asked that Zimmerman attend, likely so the judge could question him about his intentions.

The state also filed notices indicating prosecutors deposed Zimmerman’s parents, his brother and several of his friends last week in Sanford, where Zimmerman’s trial is currently set to begin June 10.

The depositions included Mark and Sondra Osterman. Zimmerman and his wife lived with the couple in Lake Mary, Fla., in the weeks after the shooting, and the Ostermans later wrote a book about the case.

Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., is his most vocal advocate, but came under fire recently for Twitter posts comparing Martin to a black Georgia teenager charged with shooting an infant.

Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old from Miami Gardens, on Feb. 26, 2012. Prosecutors say he profiled, pursued and murdered the teen. Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense.