April 20th, 2012
12:14 PM ET

Live blog: Zimmerman 'sorry' for loss of Martins' son; bond set at $150,000

After George Zimmerman took the stand during his bond hearing and told Trayvon Martin's parents that he was sorry for the loss of their son, a Florida judge Friday set Zimmerman's bond at $150,000.

The judge set a number of conditions, including GPS monitoring. The judge said Zimmerman wouldn't have the opportunity to be released Friday, because his attorney and state authorities needed to hammer out the monitoring and other logistics.

Friday's bond hearing also included testimony from one of the state's main investigators in the case, with Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara challenging the state's assertions. Under questioning, the investigator said the state didn't have evidence to contradict Zimmerman's account that Martin started the fight that led to the shooting, but he did say evidence did call into question other parts of Zimmerman's account.

Zimmerman, 28, was charged on April 11 with second-degree murder in the February death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, after the case sparked a heated, national debate over racial profiling and saw thousands of protesters demand Zimmerman's arrest. Martin's family contends Zimmerman racially profiled their son, who was black, and was walking back from a convenience store in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who is Hispanic, maintains he acted in self-defense. His family says he did not profile Martin. (Timeline of case)

The following is a running account of the bond hearing:

[Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET] The state's attorney in today's bond hearing, reacting to reporters' questions about O'Mara's assault on the prosecution's case, said that not all evidence has been publicly revealed.

"We did not put our entire case on today. Let's leave it at that," he told reporters outside the courthouse.

[Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET] Mark NeJame, an Orlando lawyer and CNN legal analyst, said O'Mara's move to put Zimmerman on the stand during the bond hearing "was a calculated risk to humanize George Zimmerman."

"We've heard a lot of negative things for weeks now, and we've now heard a living breathing person" make an apology, NeJame said.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET] The hearing is over. Zimmerman stood up and shook hands with his attorney, Mark O'Mara, before sitting down again to wait to be taken from the courtroom.

[Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET] The judge has set a bond of $150,000, with conditions.

The conditions include:

– GPS monitoring

– Zimmerman would have to contact authorities every three days

– No contact with the victim's family

– No possession of firearms

– No use of controlled substances, other than those prescribed by a physician.

As for O'Mara's request that Zimmerman be allowed to reside away from Florida, the judge said O'Mara and the state should get together and determine whether that can be accomplished.

Because O'Mara and the state need to meet about the arrangements for monitoring, Zimmerman will not have an opportunity to be freed today. the judge said.

[Updated at 11:07 a.m. ET] The state's attorney is now making a case against leniency when it comes to the bond decision, and has asked for no bond, or a bond of $1 million.

The state's attorney argued that Zimmerman is a danger to the public, citing not only the second-degree murder charge, but a previous charge of battery against a law enforcement officer, which was discussed at length earlier in the hearing.

[Updated at 11:02 a.m. ET] The hearing is now turning back to the issue of bond. O'Mara is asking the judge for:

– $15,000 bond.

– The ability of Zimmerman to leave the state

– Secrecy over Zimmerman's whereabouts

O'Mara, speaking to Zimmerman's ability to pay bond, noted that Zimmerman cannot work in public because of the case's publicity, and that his wife is not working because she is in school.

[Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET] The prosecuting attorney is now questioning Zimmerman. He asked whether Zimmerman had ever said he was sorry when he spoke to police. Zimmerman responded that he had told one of the investigators that "I felt sorry for the family."

The prosecutor told Zimmerman that if that's true, it must have been recorded. He asked Zimmerman if he was sure, and Zimmerman said he was "fairly certain."

[Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET] "I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son," Zimmerman said on the stand, apparently addressing Martin's parents, who are in the room. (Watch video of apology)

Zimmerman also said he thought Martin was older, and that he "didn't know if (Martin) was armed or not."

[Updated at 10:54 a.m. ET] Zimmerman is about the address the court. His attorney has called him to the stand.

[Updated at 10:53 a.m. ET] The prosecuting attorney, after saying "I didn't know we were going to be trying the case today," is back to ask questions of state attorney's investigator Dale Gilbreath, after O'Mara asked questions challenging the state's assertions.

The prosecutor asked Gilbreath whether there was any evidence indicating that Zimmerman's account that Martin bashed his head against a sidewalk wasn't true. Gilbreath said yes.

[Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET] O'Mara is back to questioning state attorney's investigator Dale Gilbreath, one of the investigators in the case.

O'Mara asked whether Gilbreath knows who started the fight between Zimmerman and Martin, or had any evidence as to who started the fight. Gilbreath said no.

O'Mara asked whether Gilbreath had any evidence contradicting Zimmerman's statement to Sanford police on the night of the incident that Zimmerman: 1) turned toward his car after losing sight of Martin; and 2) that Martin started the fight that led to the shooting. Gilbreath said no.

[Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET] A prosecuting attorney is now questioning state attorney's investigator Dale Gilbreath, after Zimmerman's attorney took issue with wording in a probable cause affidavit that Gilbreath had signed. Gilbreath is one of the investigators in the Martin shooting case.

Like O'Mara, the prosecuting attorney is asking Gilbreath about the affidavit, and about evidence that Gilbreath collected. The general thrust of the questioning is designed to bolster the affidavit's credibility, after O'Mara questioned word choices in the affidavit.

Gilbreath testified he has reviewed other evidence documents other than what has been discussed in the hearing. The prosecutor asked Gilbreath whether Martin had a right to be in the neighborhood Gilbreath said yes. Gilbreath also was asked if there was no evidence that Martin was committing any crime, and again Gilbreath said yes.

[Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET] O'Mara still is questioning state attorney's investigator Dale Gilbreath about the way that the probable cause affidavit which supported the second-degree murder charge - was written.

O'Mara is now taking issue with a line that says Zimmerman "disregarded" a police dispatcher. On the tape that has been released to the public, Zimmerman indicated that he was following Martin, and the dispatcher said that authorities didn't need Zimmerman to do that.

O'Mara, through his questioning of Gilbreath, is basically suggesting that "disregarded" was the wrong word, because Zimmerman did not hang up with the dispatcher, and therefore did not disregard him.

O'Mara also is taking issue with the affidavit saying that Zimmerman "confronted" Martin. O'Mara is contending that Gilbreath has offered no evidence that Zimmerman confronted Martin, and that other, less antagonistic words, should have been used since Gilbreath had no evidence that Zimmerman confronted him. Such words, O'Mara said, would be "came up to," or "spoke with."

[Updated at 10:19 a.m. ET] O'Mara, while questioning state attorney's investigator Dale Gilbreath, is now taking issue with other language choices in the probable cause affidavit.

O'Mara has noted that the only two quotes in the affidavit from Zimmerman taken from a police call that Zimmerman made to notify police that he had seen a suspicious person are of Zimmerman using expletives. O'Mara asked why out of everything Zimmerman said only those two quotes were included in the affidavit.

Gilbreath responded that he didn't type the affidavit. O'Mara pointed out that Gilbreath swore to it, and Gilbreath agreed that he had.

[Updated at 10:14 a.m. ET] O'Mara, while questioning state attorney's investigator Dale Gilbreath, has taken issue with the word "profiled" in the probable cause affidavit supporting the second-degree murder charge.

The affidavit, which Gilbreath had signed, says that Zimmerman profiled Martin. O'Mara asked why the affidavit says profiled, rather than "noticed" or "saw." Gilbreath said he couldn't remember who wrote the word, saying it was a collaborative document.

[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET] O'Mara has called Dale Gilbreath, an investigator with the state attorney's office, to the stand. Gilbreath is one of the investigators in the Martin shooting case.

Gilbreath has indicated that he didn't expect to testify today.

[Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET] O'Mara asked Zimmerman's mother whether she has come to know her son as someone who comes to the defense of people. She said yes.

She said he has stood up for children and homeless people in and around his community. She also testified that he had been a mentor for two African American children.

[Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET] O'Mara asked Zimmerman's mother about Zimmerman's previous charge of battery against a law enforcement officer. She said that Zimmerman was involved in an altercation with a plainclothes ATF agent because he was coming to the defense of a friend, who was being roughed up. The officer didn't identify himself as a law enforcement officer, she said.

[Updated at 10:02 a.m. ET] Zimmerman's mother, like his father and wife earlier this morning, said that if Zimmerman is released on bond, his location and the places where he would be allowed to go should be kept secret, because he and the family have received threats.

[Updated at 9:53 a.m. ET] O'Mara has now called Zimmerman's mother to the phone.

[Updated at 9:51 a.m. ET] Now being questioned by O'Mara, Zimmerman's father testified about Zimmerman's appearance after the February 26 shooting. The father said Zimmerman's face was swollen "quite a bit," had a protective cover over his nose, and had two vertical gashes on the back of his head.

According to an Orlando Sentinel story later confirmed by Sanford police, Zimmerman told authorities that after he called 911 about a suspicious person (later identified as Martin), and after he briefly lost track of Martin, the teen approached him. After the two exchange words, Zimmerman said, he reached for his cell phone, and then Martin punched him in the nose. Zimmerman said Martin pinned him to the ground and began slamming his head into the sidewalk.

[Updated at 9:47 a.m. ET] The prosecution is asking Zimmerman's father about Zimmerman's previous charge of battery against a law enforcement officer, basically having the father acknowledge that he knows Zimmerman faced that charge. Like the exchange that the prosecution had with Zimmerman's wife a few minutes ago, they went over the fact that Zimmerman took anger management classes as a result of that charge, which was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.

[Updated at 9:41 a.m. ET] O'Mara is asking Zimmerman's father about his financial ability to help post bond. The father, who said he was retired, said he and his wife have some savings, but very little. He said he had a mortgaged home, and that he was willing to secure the home as part of a bond arrangement.

[Updated at 9:39 a.m. ET] O'Mara is now questioning Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., who, like Zimmerman's wife, is testifying by phone. A notary public has sworn Robert Zimmerman in.

[Updated at 9:36 a.m. ET] O'Mara questioned Zimmerman's wife about the previous allegations against Zimmerman including a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer and an altercation with a woman that the prosecuting attorney brought up. Through questioning, Zimmerman's wife testified that the battery charge was reduced to a misdemeanor through a pretrial diversion program in which he took anger management classes, and that she believes he completed those classes. She also testified that in the altercation with the woman, Zimmerman was not arrested, and that the woman attacked Zimmerman and drew blood, and that as a result, Zimmerman got an injunction against that woman.

[Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET] The prosecuting attorney summed up the previous allegations - including the charge of  battery on a law enforcement officer and then asked Zimmerman's wife whether she still believes Zimmerman isn't a danger to the community. "Absolutely he is not a violent person,” nor is he a threat to the community, she responded.

[Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET] The prosecution is now questioning Zimmerman's wife about her assertion that Zimmerman poses no danger to the community. The prosecuting attorney is pointing out that Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, and that Zimmerman is accused of a violent act.

The prosecuting attorney also is asking Zimmerman's wife about his previous brushes with the law, including a charge of battery of a law enforcement officer. He also brought up a woman's previous allegations that the woman and Zimmerman were in an altercation Zimmerman's wife answered that she is aware that Zimmerman needed to defend himself from an attack by the woman, that the woman drew blood, and that Zimmerman filed for a protective order because of the incident. The prosecutor is asking her whether she is aware of those charges and allegations in the past, and she said she is.

[Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET] Zimmerman's wife said she fears for Zimmeran's safety and the safety of their family, and that is part of the reason why she is testifying by phone.

Asked if she believes Zimmerman is a danger to society, she said no. She said she has "no concerns whatsoever" about him.

[Updated at 9:18 a.m. ET] O'Mara is asking Zimmerman's wife about the family's financial ability to post bond. O'Mara is saying that Zimmerman is indigent; Zimmerman's wife said that she has talked to other family members about scraping up everything they could in anticipation of posting bond.

[Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET] With Zimmerman's wife on speakerphone, O'Mara has begun asking her questions. Asked if she would do everything in her power to ensure that Zimmerman should he be granted bail return to court when he is required to do so, she said yes. And she said she would contact the court if she lost contact with him.

[Updated at 9:11 a.m. ET] The court has called Zimmerman's wife on the phone. A notary public is with Mrs. Zimmerman and is swearing her in.

[Updated at 9:08 a.m. ET] Lester has begun the proceeding. After the attorneys identified themselves to the judge, O'Mara kicked off the bond request and told the judge that witnesses are available by phone. The court is calling those witnesses now. As we noted earlier, Zimmerman's family has offered to give testimony by phone.

[Updated at 9:04 a.m. ET] Zimmerman, wearing a dark gray suit, white shirt and light gray tie, has entered the courtroom and has seated himself next to O'Mara.

[Updated at 9:00 a.m. ET] Martin's parents are, indeed, in the courtroom, and they've taken their seats. O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, also is standing the courtroom, waiting for the proceeding to begin.

[Updated at 8:59 a.m. ET] Check out this piece on why evidence in the case may come up in the bond hearing. The prosecutor, Corey, has the burden of showing why bond should not be set or that it should be high. The burden is referred to as "proof of guilt is evident or presumption of guilt is great." Corey would have to convince Lester that a jury would convict Zimmerman.

[Updated at 8:55 a.m. ET] The bond hearing is expected to begin in minutes. Martin's parents are expected to be at the hearing, and this would be the first time that they and Zimmerman are in the same room, CNN's Martin Savidge tells us from the site.

O'Mara filed a motion that asks the court to allow Zimmerman's family members to provide testimony at the bond hearing by telephone. The state attorney's office did not object.

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Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
soundoff (1,341 Responses)
  1. pj3386

    O'Mara is playing the semantics game. Yeah, Zimmerman was cursing about a black kid in a hoodie walking home with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Pretty good indication of his unbalanced state of mind.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Paul

    Is it just me or does CNN see to take YET ANOTHER 2 MINUTE COMMERCIAL BREAK (with one minute of actual live footage) EVERY time the prosecutor seems to refute his own case? CNN is SO transparent in their leaning towards a racially profiled case that that it's sickening. Two minutes of commercials every time the prosecuting attorney stumbled over his own words in the sworn affidavid? Come on, CNN – some being an MSM POS and give us the facts as they occur, not as you'd like us to hear them.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • bb

      It's covered on other channels – get it from another source. I'm watching another – IMO, Zimmerman's attorney isn't laying out anything that helps his client.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • bb

      What kind of armed adult keeps pursuing an unarmed minor walking through the neighborhood in which the minor was living? Note: Zimmerman didn't even live in the neighborhood he was 'patrolling'. In most sane books – that type of adult is called a predatory child killer.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. High Hopes

    Sad.... for both families. They all lost a son. One to racist profiling by an over-zealous wannabe who acted out of egotistical
    ambition, the other for his actions.

    He never should have bought that gun, much
    less used it. He murdered an innocent, imo,
    who did the same thing we ALL should do:

    Protect yourselves!

    Has not Treyvon the right to stand his ground
    when it was HIS life in jeopardy? The crimes
    committed against this child are paled in
    comparison with the actions of the police
    who, obviously, dropped the ball and
    tarnished their images, protected the
    aggessor and left the public crying for
    something better. They have to answer,
    as well... and I pray that justice be served.

    Justice for Treyvon,
    Hope

    April 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Terry

      Wow, when did all the facts come out? You seem to know exactly what happened. Were you there? That's the problem – noone knows what happened but they all have an opinion based on ideas. Please tell us how you think everything happened to form these opinions. Was Zimmerman running after him with a gun drawn yelling racial comments? Please do share your version.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • minpins

      Terry
      Finally someone said something intellegent, you right, no one was there, and no one knows what actually happened, that's why Zimmerman will have a trial in a court of law, hopefully someone who witnessed what actually happened will come forward.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Donna O

    Ultimately, had Zimmerman left things up to the police, as he should have done in the first place, that poor young boy would be alive and Zimmerman wouldn't be where he is today. It was Zimmerman's actions that set the tragic chain of events into motion, and he should be held accountable.All too often today, people don't think of the possible consequences for their 'in the moment' actions.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • theheadrush

      well lol maybe and maybe not... the police don't have a very good record when it comes to not shooting people these days...

      November 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pnjei

    this is just a another example of how police twist words and lie in sworn statements. There are just way too many croaked cops and politicians out there now days.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Haha

    I guess GZ deserved to be puched and beaten for survailing a black teen because he's white / hispanic. TM lost a fight that he started. Too bad for him.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigHwasdemo IS a zero

      Haha indeed. We're all laughing at your stupidity. Poor Zimmerman got beat up by some skittles. He'll do well in jail if that's as good as he can protect himself. He should be real popular among the crew. He might even get swapped for some skittles. Zimmerman: do you prefer syrup or jelly?

      April 20, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Zed

      Weak.

      So is White/Hispanic a race now? What about White/African American? You may be racist against Whites, but our president had a white mother.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      No Zed, hispanic is not a race at all. Hispanic is an ethnicity. Look it up.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AB

    ...how is this case even happening? I hope it gets thrown out.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Defiance12

    The silence from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson is deafening. Everyone was saying "if he got his head bashed he would have visible marks." Well, there you go. This is going to get thrown out.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigHwasdemo IS a zero

      Keep dreaming/wishing...

      April 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Haha

    Trayvon's toast.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigHwasdemo IS a zero

      Zimmy will need to bring hs syrup or jelly since he'll be tossing salads soon enough....

      April 20, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bayousara

    Frustrated, Trayvon didn't have to answer to ANYONE on the street he was walking on. If an identified police officer had approach him, he would have responded to questions. From anyone else, our streets/sidewalks are public places. Are we a police state now????? How would you respond if someone on a street side walk asked you questions about who you are and where you were going? How do you know that person isn't going to try to kidnap you? Zimmerman had a car. All things add up to harrassment of Trayvon.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • steve

      Exactly right. Does this mean if i hate asians (which i dotn) i can go harrass them in my plain clothes and when they do something ill just shoot them??? Stupidity. Common sense says this law needs some kind of re-wroding. It makes sense in a mugging or robbery/assualt case but in this case zimmerman clearly started the whole thing, im sure martin would not have randomly attacked him if he didnt follow him and harass him in the first place. hes guilty. I mean common sense, means i can go hurl abuse at someone, follow them, make them unconfortable etc then as soon as they lay a hand on me ill shoot them... come on...

      April 20, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Defiance12

      Zimmerman got the stuff kicked out of him by Trayvon. Stop trying to make him into a martyr. What you are saying is that Zimmerman's "harassment" of Trayvon somehow condones a violent attack.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dodd, T

    Someone asks why they are bringing up Zimmerman's previous run ins with the law...EXACTLY. Why are people bringing up Trayvon's prior mischief as well? Neither of them were choir boys. What Zimm and Trayvon DID in the past has absolutely NOTHING to do with what transpired that night. None of us knows what happened so let the justice system do its' job.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. remember

    racism is rooted in stupidity. zimmerman's best excuse is"he knows not what he's doing." on the other hand, his father, the former judge, should be stoned to death for what must be either his willful ignorance about his son's crime or the criminal misjudgements he must have made during his tenure on the bench if he honestly believes his son hasn't committed a hate crime.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Red Blooded American

      When did self defense become a hate crime

      April 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Electroguy

      The only racists in this are Trayvons Parents.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Seyedibar

      stoned to death? It's nce to see Saudi Arabians weighing in on this issue.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. vittoriokiss

    Maybe Trayvon was standing his ground when he punch a guy that was following and harassing him on the street for no reason, if Trayvon had a gun and shot George, it would have been instant murder, not self defense.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • steve

      Excellent point, if Martin had stood his ground and killed him for going at him in the first place he would be in jail for life... no doubt about it funny that.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrea Phillips

      You are right!!! if you were following me with a gun and harrassing me you would have more than a bump upside your head!!! you do not go around harrassing and provoking people you are asking for it, how hard is that to understand!!!
      had Zimmerman came after some of them with a gun or their child it would be a different story they would also be fighting for justice. People are too busy focusing on black and white instead of right, grow up or shut up!!!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • black man

      STAND YOUR GROUND
      more like feel the ground
      BANG

      April 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Herman Cain supporter

    9-9-9 will fix it all.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Electroguy

    Was reading that Trayvon was caught with burglary tools and a bag of womand jewelry. LOL. Yeah, the Martins really raised a rocket scientist.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
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