SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin to death had been out of touch and, his ex-lawyer says, "a little bit over the edge" before his arrest on a second-degree murder charge.
As George Zimmerman turned himself in Wednesday in the Feb. 26 shooting of the unarmed black teen, experts offered this advice: Stop talking.
"My advice to the client would be, 'Save it for the trial. It can't help you.'" said Roy Kahn, a Miami defense attorney,.
The 28-year-old Sanford man was in custody in Florida after a puzzling disappearance that had his lawyers expressing concern for his health and announcing they couldn't represent him anymore. Zimmerman had called special prosecutor Angela Corey, his former lawyers said, had an off-the-record chat with a Fox News Channel host and put up a website asking supporters for money.
"It would not be in a client's best interest to give any statement before it's his time to testify at trial," Kahn said. "For him to give a statement, since he already has given an interview to the police, any additional statement at the State Attorney's Office would just create the possibility of him creating conflict with his previous statements."
Zimmerman's new attorney, Mark O'Mara, said after his client's arrest Wednesday that Zimmerman "is very concerned about the charges, but he is OK."
"I'm not concerned about his mental well-being," O'Mara said.
Former lawyers Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig on Tuesday portrayed Zimmerman as erratic, said he hadn't returned their calls and texts and was buckling under the pressure that has built in the month since the shooting.
Jack Schafer, a professor at Western Illinois University and a former FBI behavioral analyst, said Zimmerman's behavior shouldn't cause undue concern. After all, Schafer said, he wasn't charged with any crime and was free to go wherever he wanted after he spoke to authorities after the shooting.