George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch captain charged with second-degree murder in the killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was heading to jail last night after a Florida judge revoked his bail after hearing from prosecutors that he had lied about his finances.
In a potentially grave setback for the defence, Judge Kenneth Lester agreed to revoke the $150,000 bail set for Mr Zimmerman and ruled that he should surrender himself within 48 hours. Once in jail, he is now likely to remain there until his trial.
The judge acted after the prosecution asserted that the defendant had $135,000 in a special account set up for his defence on the day before his bail hearing at which he and his wife pretended to have no money.
"The court was led to believe that they didn't have a single penny," prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda said. "If this wasn't relevant to bond then why did they lie about it? I don't know what other words to use besides that it was a blatant lie."
The revocation of the bond is the latest twist in a case already steeped in controversy. Mr Zimmerman is charged over the killing of Martin, who was 17, after some kind of altercation as the victim was walking home after dark.
The exact nature of the February encounter will be at the heart of the case. Mr Zimmerman has claimed he was attacked by the teenager and fired his gun in self-defence.
Prosecutors also complained to the judge that even though the defendant had handed in his passport when bail was granted, he had a second passport that he had applied for two weeks after the shooting, claiming the original had been lost.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, said Zimmerman's credibility was the most important thing in the case."Remember it is only George Zimmerman's testimony that says Trayvon Martin attacked him."