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This undated file police photo provided by the Orange County Jail via The Miami Herald shows George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

In the United States, land of litigation, it was inevitable that money would emerge from the shadows surrounding the controversial killing of a young, black, unarmed teenager by a neighbourhood watch 'captain' in a gated Florida community.

George Zimmerman, the shooter, who has not been charged and claims self-defence in the confrontation that ended with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin dying on the grass in The Retreat at Twin Lakes, has launched a website, seeking support and – for the first time – offering a glimpse of his life in hiding.

"On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage. As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life," Mr. Zimmerman, 28, says on therealgeorgezimmerman.com. The simple, five-page website, with a PayPal button for donations and an American flag background, was confirmed by Mr. Zimmerman's lawyers as legitimate. It carries a warning that there are other sites, also raising funds and purporting to be supporting Mr. Zimmerman which are bogus.

Mr. Zimmerman, who has not been charged despite a nationwide outcry, thanks his friends and supporters for their backing in this "trying, tragic time."

The website has recorded more than 5,000 visits in its first day online. "Any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment," Mr. Zimmerman said on the website.

But the fundraising effort angered lawyers for the slain teenager.

"We believe Zimmerman should have been arrested and put into jail," Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family said Monday.

"This situation with this website is a luxury that Trayvon Martin doesn't have and never would have had."

Meanwhile, speculation has erupted about lawsuits, whether or not Mr. Zimmerman is ever charged and convicted in connection with the shooting of Mr. Martin.

It seems the homeowners association at The Retreat at Twin Lakes could be soon be targeted with lawsuit from the Martin family, whether or not criminal charges are laid. In a newsletter distributed only weeks before the shooting the homeowners' association appears to have approved Mr. Zimmerman's role as watch captain.

It urges residents, when faced with a crime or fearing one, to call police and "please contact our Captain, George Zimmerman ... so he can be aware and help address the issue with other residents."

By designating Mr. Zimmerman as the go-to person in its newsletter, the homeowners association may be vulnerable to lawsuits, said experts familiar with real estate law.

If Mr. Zimmerman were convicted of a crime in connection with Mr. Martin's death, a much wider scope for lawsuits would open. All the assets of the homeowners association would be at risk if there was insufficient insurance. There could even be special levies against owners to pay off any judgment or out-of-court settlement. The gated community, hardly an enclave of the very wealthy, is a typical suburban development of middle-class homes, some of them vacant and in foreclosure.

Mr. Zimmerman's fundraising site may not be the last.

Angela Corey, Florida's special prosecutor assigned to the case after a nation-wide uproar over the decision by the local Sanford police not to charge Mr. Zimmerman, said on Monday that she would not refer the file to a grand jury. That only means there won't be first-degree murder charges, which require a grand jury. However, Ms. Corey is expected to announce soon whether she intends to lay lesser charges.