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Zimmerman's request to push back trial denied

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By Orlando Sentinel
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 7:22 p.m.
 

SANFORD, Fla. — A judge has denied George Zimmerman's request to delay his trial in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The trial's start remains as June 10. Circuit Judge Debra Nelson issued her ruling during an often heated, one-hour hearing on Tuesday.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood-watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting Feb. 26 last year.

He called police and described Martin as suspicious. Zimmerman soon fired in self-defense, saying that Martin attacked him. Authorities determined that Martin was unarmed.

The events on Tuesday began in front of Seminole County Courthouse with family members and supporters singing “Happy Birthday” to Martin, who would have turned 18. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara acknowledged the teen's birthday at the start of the hearing, stating that “no matter what, a tragedy occurred.”

O'Mara then asked the judge to grant the defense access to purchase records from the 7-Eleven where Martin shopped the night of the shooting. The state did not object, and the judge granted the motion.

Zimmerman's attorney also wanted his client's trial delayed. O'Mara had argued in a lengthy motion that there's much work left to be done and many depositions to conduct. The defense, he said, has had to fight the state for key evidence and can't possibly be ready by June.

“The only additional argument is I need more time,” O'Mara said in court.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda countered that O'Mara doesn't deserve any more time.

“It's February, and the trial's set for June,” he said, adding that some delays that have happened so far have been the defense's fault.

“Sometimes we set aside days of depositions, and they're canceled. That's frustrating,” de la Rionda said.

The judge said both parties had estimated they would be ready by June. O'Mara's issues don't appear to be “insurmountable.”

The parties then moved on to other pieces of evidence that O'Mara argues he needs.

The attorneys argued about data downloaded from Martin's phone. O'Mara has said there's information that the state is withholding.

Nelson told the state to provide a full chain-of-custody report for the phone, indicating which tests were conducted where.

O'Mara also asked the judge to order the state to provide further information on the social-media accounts of Witness 8, who is expected to be one of the state's most important witnesses because she said she heard the first words of the confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman.

The judge ruled that the defense can get the social-media information through a “mini” deposition before the witness is formally deposed.

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