Apr 10, 2012 4 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
ORLANDO, Fla. – Attorneys for a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen have withdrawn as his counsel, saying they have lost contact with him.
Attorney Craig Sonner said Tuesday in a news conference they haven’t heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday. They said that against their advice, Zimmerman contacted the special prosecutor who will decide if he should face charges.
Attorney Hal Uhrig said that his legal team is still concerned about Zimmerman, who he said is “not doing well emotionally” and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sonner said he has never talked to Zimmerman face-to-face and that the 28-year-old man has gone into hiding, but he believes Zimmerman is still in the U.S.
Zimmerman is at the center of an investigation over the shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense after following him in a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26.
Martin, who was unarmed, was black. Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic. The lack of an arrest has inspired nationwide protests and some claims of racial profiling, which Zimmerman’s supporters deny.
Sonner urged the media and public to not jump to conclusions about this case. “Put the evidence together and you can see it’s a self-defense case,” Sonner said.
Uhrig went further to explain that Zimmerman has never been a racist. He said according to Zimmerman, Martin attacked him and caused a head injury, which would lead Zimmerman to act in self defense.
Zimmerman is currently in hiding, although Sonner and Uhrig said they did not know where exactly he is. They said Zimmerman is in the U.S.
Both attorneys said they’d be willing to represent him again if he asks.
Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family, said they’re concerned that Zimmerman could be a flight risk if he is charged with a crime since his now-former attorneys don’t know how to contact him.
“At this point, we’re just concerned that nobody knows where he is at. Nobody knows how to get to him,” Crump said.
Zimmerman set up a website therealgeorgezimmerman.com to collect money from his supporters, but the attorneys didn’t know about it until they started getting questions from the media, Sonner said.
“I am the real George Zimmerman,” the website said. “As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life.”
That portrait of his life since the shooting was confirmed by his attorneys.
Sonner said that he stands behind his statements that Zimmerman did act in self-defense, however, “I just can’t proceed to represent a client who doesn’t stay in contact with me.”