Trayvon Martin case: Zimmerman apologizes for shooting; gets $150K bail

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SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Telling Trayvon Martin's parents and a national TV audience "I am sorry for the loss of your son," neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman took the witness stand in an extraordinary move Friday during his bail hearing, making his first public comments since fatally shooting the unarmed teenager.

A judge set Zimmerman's bail at $150,000 and his attorney said he could be free in several days. Authorities and attorneys need to work out arrangements to allow Zimmerman to live outside Florida as he awaits trial on a second-degree murder charge because of threats made against him and his family.

Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him after he started following the teenager Feb. 26 because he thought the 17-year-old Martin looked suspicious walking around the gated neighborhood. Zimmerman has said he was punched in the nose and his head was slammed against the sidewalk.

Wearing a charcoal suit, white shirt and gray tie — but also shackled and appearing to have on a bulletproof vest — Zimmerman took the witness stand to deliver a short statement to Martin's parents, who were in court.

"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not," Zimmerman said.

By going on the witness stand, Zimmerman opened himself up to a series of questions from a prosecutor who grilled him on whether he made an apology to police on the night of the shooting, and why he waited so long to express remorse to Martin's parents. Zimmerman said he told police after the shooting that he felt sorry for Martin's parents. He also said he didn't say anything to the parents sooner because his attorneys told him not to.

Attorneys for Martin's parents said the apology was disappointing.

"This was the most disingenuous and unfair thing I've seen," said Natalie Jackson, one of the attorneys for Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. "This was the most unmeaningful apology."

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set several conditions for Zimmerman's release, which he said would not occur Friday. He did not say exactly when Zimmerman could go free.

Zimmerman cannot have any guns, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs and must observe a curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. Zimmerman surrendered his passport at the start of the hearing.

The lack of an arrest for 44 days spurred protests nationwide in which participants chanted and held signs that said, "Arrest Zimmerman Now!" Anger over a delay in Zimmerman's arrest led to the Sanford police chief stepping down temporarily and the recusal of the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford, which is in central Florida.

Civil rights leaders claimed if the black teenager had been white, Zimmerman would have been arrested and charged the night of the shooting. Zimmerman's father is white, and his mother is Hispanic of Peruvian descent.

Earlier, Zimmerman's parents and wife testified by phone at the hearing because of worries about their safety. They said he was not a flight risk or a threat to the community.

"He is absolutely not a violent person," his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, testified.

Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., said that even when confronted his son was likely to "turn the other cheek." The father also described his son's injuries the morning after Martin was shot.

"His face was swollen quite a bit. He had a protective cover over his nose. His lip was swollen and cut. And there were two vertical gashes on the back of his head," Robert Zimmerman testified.

Zimmerman's mother, Gladys, said her son was "very protective" of vulnerable people such as the homeless and children. She described how he got involved in a mentoring program for children in Orlando, noting that both of the children he mentored were African-American like Martin.

Gladys Zimmerman said she was concerned about her son's safety in that program because he traveled twice a month to a dangerous neighborhood.

"He said, 'Mom, if I don't go, they don't have nobody,'" Gladys Zimmerman said.

Prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda asked the family members about two incidents. In 2005, George Zimmerman had to take anger management courses after an undercover law enforcement officer accused him of attacking him as he tried to arrest Zimmerman's friend. In another incident, a girlfriend accused Zimmerman of attacking her. No charges were filed.

The hearing provided a few glimpses into the evidence amassed by investigators, and in some cases evidence they do not have.

Dale Gilbreath, an investigator for the state attorney's office, testified that he does not know whether Martin or Zimmerman threw the first punch and that there is no evidence to disprove Zimmerman's contention that he was walking back to his vehicle when confronted by Martin.

Gilbreath also said evidence does not back up parts of Zimmerman's story, such as his claim that Martin was slamming his head against a sidewalk just before he pulled out his handgun and shot the teenager.

"That is not consistent with the evidence we found," said Gilbreath, who did not provide details.

Zimmerman asked to meet with Trayvon Martin's parents before the hearing, but the family's lawyers said this was not the time.

"We believe (the) Zimmerman request is very self-serving, considering the timing of it 50 days later, right before his bond hearing," said Justin R. Campbell — an assistant to attorney Benjamin Crump — in an email Thursday.

Legal experts had earlier predicted Zimmerman would likely be granted bail. Key factors include his ties to the local community and that he doesn't appear to be a flight risk since he turned himself in voluntarily after he was charged last week. He also has never been convicted of a serious crime, which would indicate he doesn't pose a threat to society.

"Although it's not routine for people charged with murder to get bond, they do get bond, and I think there is an excellent argument to be made in his specific case for him to be released on bond," said defense attorney Randy McClean, who practices in Seminole County, about 15 miles northeast of Orlando.

Kim Cannaday, a spokeswoman for the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, said she couldn't comment on what security procedures would be in place for Zimmerman if he is released. The sheriff's office does have the ability to monitor defendants outside the county if a judge requests a GPS monitor be used as a condition of release.

___

Anderson reported from Miami.

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Comments » 95

brianorlando writes:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

localmike writes:

they need to release him on bail.They have no case on him anyway anyone who says he does is misiformed because no one except the courts and police know all the info.if they had a case he would have been arrested immediatly.hope people accept the judgement of not guilty when it is handed down!!

SNOWBlRD27 (Inactive) writes:

Zimmerman is my hero!

RichMKing writes:

in response to brianorlando:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

brianorlando writes:

in response to RichMKing:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

RichMKing writes:

in response to brianorlando:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're welcome Suzie.

randy123 writes:

in response to brianorlando:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

He is a registered democrat-

Ruger writes:

in response to brianorlando:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

Wrong..

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/32031...

Voting Form Shows George Zimmerman Is A Registered Democrat, Confounding Message Pushed By Left

brianorlando writes:

in response to Ruger:

Wrong..

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/32031...

Voting Form Shows George Zimmerman Is A Registered Democrat, Confounding Message Pushed By Left

he was a registered democrat. who knows what he is now....besides a murderer.

Francophile2 writes:

Think about what would of happened with no gun in hand. A few punches and both would have gotten out of there. Instead, an innocent young man died. What is happening to this country?

Ruger writes:

"The wife of a neighborhood watch volunteer"

Actually he was the neighborhood watch Captain and was voted into that position...

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-...

newsletter sent by the association to residents in February, the same month as the shooting. It said Zimmerman was the go-to person for residents who had been the victims of a crime.

Under the heading “Neighborhood Watch,” the newsletter’s message recommended that residents first call police and then “please contact our Captain, George Zimmerman ... so he can be aware and help address the issue with other residents.”

jerry3858 writes:

Why belong to the Naples News when I make a comment felt by many of us and you delete it! I didn't use profanity and stated my case. I thought maybe you were not left wing and I was wrong.

Ruger writes:

in response to Francophile2:

Think about what would of happened with no gun in hand. A few punches and both would have gotten out of there. Instead, an innocent young man died. What is happening to this country?

You would have preferred that he was carrying a big knife?

Francophile2 writes:

in response to Ruger:

You would have preferred that he was carrying a big knife?

No weapon ... You missed my point.

firejoke writes:

$150,000 bond

firejoke writes:

The back of Zimmerman's head.

http://abcnews.go.com/images/US/ht_ge...

MrsRobles writes:

I think that they need to stop getting people who are family saying he's not violent i think they need to speak with the person that handled that anger managment class he went to and his ex girlfriend and his ex employees

bigcat21 writes:

he'll walk just like in that disgusting Anthony case.....

hot-wire-jim writes:

Zimmerman is getting a Bond. 150K (not sure if it will be the usual 10% of amount stated by court) I am surprised that Judge allowed...it's not just a "Felony Charge" but 2nd deg Murder Charge. Being a White Caucasian, I know there is going to be an outrage to follow. The Rev Al & Jesse are probably in front of a T.V. camera as I type....Having said that,...Let the court and upcoming Trial run it's course. Let the Jury hear and see the evidence, and let them render a judgement as so Zimmerman's Guilt or Innocence.

hot-wire-jim writes:

in response to MrsRobles:

I think that they need to stop getting people who are family saying he's not violent i think they need to speak with the person that handled that anger managment class he went to and his ex girlfriend and his ex employees

Agree...as well as when they ask Trayvon Martins parents if Trayvon was a "good" boy. What do you think his parent's are going to say...?

winnie writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

IMFROMHERE writes:

in response to brianorlando:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

haha... he's a democrat... open mouth, insert foot. FAIL

IMFROMHERE writes:

in response to winnie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you're an idiot

Francophile2 writes:

This is an outrage ...

NDNisLame writes:

in response to Francophile2:

This is an outrage ...

Yep, it should be more IMO

winnie writes:

in response to IMFROMHERE:

you're an idiot

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

crazyjoedivola1 (Inactive) writes:

Watched the proceeding and the judge talked about " the one thing we have in Florida is a lot of experience with these types of cases" Wow. What does that say for Florida? No wonder it has a reputation as a lawless swampland.

Francophile2 writes:

in response to crazyjoedivola1:

Watched the proceeding and the judge talked about " the one thing we have in Florida is a lot of experience with these types of cases" Wow. What does that say for Florida? No wonder it has a reputation as a lawless swampland.

You got that right ...

bh1799 writes:

in response to localmike:

they need to release him on bail.They have no case on him anyway anyone who says he does is misiformed because no one except the courts and police know all the info.if they had a case he would have been arrested immediatly.hope people accept the judgement of not guilty when it is handed down!!

"no one except the courts and police know all the info" and they have no case on him.... then how are you so informed? you're an insider on this???
he SHOULD be held accountable for his actions of killing someone. end of story.

bh1799 writes:

in response to SNOWBlRD27:

Zimmerman is my hero!

and you are no one's hero! for sure.

jerry3858 writes:

in response to bigcat21:

he'll walk just like in that disgusting Anthony case.....

Not even close to that case you moron, this guy is innocent. Trayvon deserved to get shot.

bh1799 writes:

in response to jerry3858:

Not even close to that case you moron, this guy is innocent. Trayvon deserved to get shot.

why would be deserve to be shot????
what ever for???

Bunk writes:

"Ever notice how you come across someone once in a while that you shouldn't have f***ed with? That's me." Walt Kawalski in Gran Torino

DonkeyWhispererakaDuh_novan writes:

in response to brianorlando:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

registered democrat by the way! see you have followed the case closely.

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

in response to firejoke:

$150,000 bond

Word on the street is that since he is a democrat that the flotus is coming down with bail money donated from the new black panthers to see justice done, eh?

Run, George, RUN!

AmericasTrueRecoveryBeginsIn2016 writes:

I find it entertaining (and more than a little hypocritical) to see that the liberal extremists, who are the self-proclaimed champions of individual and minority rights, are the ones screaming the loudest (especially in the media) to convict and sentence Zimmerman without the benefit of a trial, before any of the relevent evidence is gathered or heard.

Yet another example of how their beliefs only apply to those they choose when it is convenient for them, rather than to everyone equally all of the time.

Hypocrite much?

samsam writes:

in response to brianorlando:

Not violent....just another wack job republican who listens to too much fox news telling him to pick up his guns and defend America. This man needs to be behind bars for life.

yes sir mr.hitler

Beachglow writes:

in response to Han_Solo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Innocent until proven not to have shot in self-defense, and you haven't heard from the other side yet.

I mean, maybe Martin had some marijuana in his system, too, and was more of an aggressor than you think. After all, that's why he was suspended from school, drugs.

JunkYardDog_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to firejoke:

The back of Zimmerman's head.

http://abcnews.go.com/images/US/ht_ge...

A picture is worth a thousand words.

anotherPOV writes:

in response to Beachglow:

Innocent until proven not to have shot in self-defense, and you haven't heard from the other side yet.

I mean, maybe Martin had some marijuana in his system, too, and was more of an aggressor than you think. After all, that's why he was suspended from school, drugs.

Yea, your probably right. That reefer has a reputation for turning people aggressive.

native_at_heart writes:

in response to firejoke:

The back of Zimmerman's head.

http://abcnews.go.com/images/US/ht_ge...

looks photo-shopped to me.

SandnSurf writes:

in response to ISPEAKFORGOD:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How do you dream this stuff up? You must have one twisted & sick mind.

dragonflyfla writes:

Why didn't Naples News run with the image of the back of Zimmerman's head before it was cleaned up and he was transported to jail!

Canuck writes:

in response to native_at_heart:

looks photo-shopped to me.

Wonder why the "un-named" person waited all this time to come forward with the photo!

Video of Zimmerman's booking into the police station shows no injuries or cuts!

If there were "violent" injuries....why no stitches or even a visit to the hospital?

No one has brought up the the "sudden" departure of the police chief under rumours of evidence tampering!

jerry3858 writes:

in response to jimslade48:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Me to...........

JunkYardDog_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to native_at_heart:

looks photo-shopped to me.

It's real and all over the news.

JunkYardDog_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to JunkYardDog_1:

It's real and all over the news.

22FOXTROT writes:

Just say No to the "Thug Life" and leave your hoodies and gold teef at home.

ROMNEY / Zimmerman 2012

JunkYardDog_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Canuck:

Wonder why the "un-named" person waited all this time to come forward with the photo!

Video of Zimmerman's booking into the police station shows no injuries or cuts!

If there were "violent" injuries....why no stitches or even a visit to the hospital?

No one has brought up the the "sudden" departure of the police chief under rumours of evidence tampering!

22FOXTROT writes:

Can't wait to hear the dummycRATs squeal foul on that one.

Self inflicted probably. Ha

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