Update: 1:40 p.m. ET
George Zimmerman’s formal arraignment set for May 29th of this year.
Click here for a live feed from CNN on George Zimmerman’s bond hearing.
UPDATE: 12:06 p.m. ET
George Zimmerman will face a judge during a bond hearing at the Seminole Courthouse today at 1:30 p.m.
RELATED: For full coverage of Trayvon Martin story click here.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, is expected to ask the judge for a reasonable bond, arguing that Zimmerman’s family is not one of means, CNN reports.
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Moreover, O’Mara says that his client is not a flight risk and that Zimmerman is concerned over is chances of getting a fair trial.
“He is a client who has a lot of hatred focused on him,” O’Mara told CBS News. “I’m hoping the hatred settles down … he has the right to his own safety and the case being tried before a judge and jury.”
Zimmerman’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
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SANFORD, Fla. — After an extraordinary public campaign to make an arrest in the shooting of an unarmed black teen, a Florida prosecutor came back with a murder charge in the case that has galvanized the nation for weeks.
But prosecutors face steep hurdles to win a second-degree murder conviction against neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, experts say. They will have to prove Zimmerman intentionally went after Martin instead of shooting him in self-defense, refute arguments that a Florida law empowered him to use deadly force and get past a judge’s ruling at a pretrial hearing.
Zimmerman, 28, who turned himself in at a county jail Wednesday after prosecutor Angela Corey announced the charge, was to appear before a magistrate Thursday and plead not guilty in the Feb. 26 shooting of the 17-year-old that set off a nationwide debate about racial profiling and the rights to self-defense.
“He is concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation,” his attorney, Mark O’Mara said. “He is a client who has a lot of hatred focused on him. I’m hoping the hatred settles down … he has the right to his own safety and the case being tried before a judge and jury.”
Legal experts said Corey chose a tough route with the murder charge, which could send Zimmerman to prison for life if he’s convicted, over manslaughter, which usually carries 15-year prison terms and covers reckless or negligent killings.
The prosecutors must prove Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was rooted in hatred or ill will and counter his claims that he shot Martin to protect himself while patrolling his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford. Zimmerman’s lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence – a relatively low legal standard – that he acted in self-defense at a pretrial hearing to prevent the case from going to trial.
There’s a “high likelihood it could be dismissed by the judge even before the jury gets to hear the case,” Florida defense attorney Richard Hornsby said.