George Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Trayvon Martin - a charge of such magnitude that bail is usually not granted, a Florida legal expert said Thursday.
"It's uncommon, but not unheard of," to grant bail in such cases, said Charles Rose, director of the center for excellence and advocacy at the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida.
Any bail would be large and need a significant financial requirement, whether in money or property, from Zimmerman or his supporters, Rose said.
"The judge will have to hit the range for what is appropriate in cases like this," he said, possibly around $250,000.
The magistrate judge hearing Zimmerman's case Thursday will consider Zimmerman's character, his likelihood to make subsequent court appearances, and his ties to the community when deciding whether to grant bail, Rose said.
The law professor said he didn't think Zimmerman posed a flight risk as he's become so recognizable through media coverage of the case that he'd be spotted almost anywhere.
The magistrate will also determine where and under what conditions Zimmerman would live while on bond, Rose said. The neighborhood watchman would not be allowed to leave the state.
That could pose a problem for Zimmerman, his lawyer said Wednesday.
"I think nobody would deny the fact if George Zimmerman is walking down the street today, he would be at risk," Zimmerman's lawyer,Β Mark O'Mara, said.
Thousands have converged on Sanford, Florida, where the killing took place, to join in protests calling for Zimmerman's arrest and decrying the police department's handling of the case.
And earlier in the case, the New Black Panther Party, described as a hate group by a civil rights organization, made a $10,000 bounty offer for the capture of Zimmerman, despite vehement opposition from, among others, Martin's family.
Zimmerman, 28, who had been in hiding, turned himself in Wednesday after authorities said he would be charged in the case. The killing took place on February 26.
"You could make an argument that (Zimmerman) would be safer to remain in custody," Rose said.
But he said the authorities may prefer to have Zimmerman released on bond because of the "nightmare" it would be to guarantee his security in custody.
Rose said it's likely that the bail question has already been negotiated between Zimmerman's lawyer and prosecutors.
"I would not be surprised to see him walk in the door and walk out the door," Rose said.