An appellate court has ordered Judge Kenneth Lester to recuse himself and directed the chief circuit judge to name a replacement after George Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara accused Lester of bias against his client.
Zimmerman, a mixed-race Latino, faces one count of second-degree murder for the death of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin earlier this year. Zimmerman was his neighborhood's Crime Watcher, according to a HOA newsletter.
The Sanford Police Department’s decision not to arrest Zimmerman immediately triggered protests and threats from Black Power groups. An elderly couple unconnected to the case was forced to flee their home in fear for their lives after allegations that they were somehow implicated in the death of the teen. And a special team of Community Affairs officers from the DOJ had to be dispatched to calm the area.
The private gated community which was the scene of the tragedy may be facing a bleak future, as some of the groups want it demolished and Trayvon Martin's mother has many years of experience in administrating Public Housing.
The Orlando Sentinel expects Lester's replacement to be Circuit Judge Debra S Nelson, 58, who is another felony trial judge with a reputation for tough sentencing.