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. WHAT!?!?!?!

    When I was 19 years old I got into some trouble and stole some things from a house.. Huge mistake and that was nearly 15 years ago... My bail at the time, $300,000. I'm a White Jew from Bethesda, MD. Not that it has anything to do with race, but I didn't KILL anyone! And I was just a kid, 19 years old! This makes no sense...

    April 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Silky Johnson

    I hate you. I hate you. I don't even know you, and I hate your guts. I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and nobody else but you.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hank

    It's hard to say what really happened. Trayvon may have came up behind Zimmerman and hit him and then got shot because of it, or Zimmerman may have just shot him then beat himself up. it's going to be hard to prove, but what will likely happen is Zimmerman will get a sentance to avoid a riot. He doesn't stand a fair trial IMO.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DefyTheGods

    GZ was an altar boy? Wow! I was an altar boy too! I'm an atheist now, but I haven't killed anyone. Hmmm...my atheistic life is so peaceful. How about we stop killing each other, and start killing God(s). We'd be better off.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kerry

    This nation certainly has a two-tiered system of justice. Zimmerman was charged with 2nd degree murder and has been given bail at ONLY $150,000??? That's ludicrous. If he was given bail it should have been at the $700,000 to $1.5 million level so that at least he would have been remanded in jail where this little man belongs. I'm very discouraged at the lack of fairness in Florida's State system, and I hope the Federal Government will pursue Federal civil rights violation charges against him.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Godiva13

    Ku Klux Klan, Internet Thugs, same thing. One hides behind a sheet, the other hides behind a computer screen. Both cowards.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reba

    Today's court session is just another example of the incompetent and corrupt court system in Florida! The incompetency level was so blatantly apparent in the Anthony Trial and now this proves it runs rampant in this state! Shame on the incompetent police department and now the court and judge! Florida Sucks! I will never go to this state again! God forbid something happened during a visit from a tourist there, they would never receive justice for any crime committed against them, this state does not serve and protect their own citizens let alone any visitors! Forget about it! Travelers Beware!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      Thank you for staying away from Florida, it is a much better place without you.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ivan


    April 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne - Tampa FL

      free Zimmerman!

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bail Posted

      It was great he got his Bond posted by Jesse J and Al S. as this latino was discrimminated against.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce in VA

      Why? Is there evidence to suggest that Zimmerman is a significant threat or flight risk?

      April 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      When the black leaders, the president, and attorney general made it an issue to endanger the Zimmerman and the black panthers have set an amount on killing Zimmerman, police should give protection to Zimmerman till that time he is convicted and jailed or else till death.
      Then what is the need for a bond at all?

      April 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wade The Blade

    I am amazed at how many peole think its OK or neccesary to defend yourself against someone who is just following you!! This common thug mentality among Martin supporters is really disturbing. What a shame they had no-one to teach them that it is NOT OK to put your hands on someone unless they have put thier hands on you!! If you start giving out beatdowns because you think you can............you will eventually run across the wrong man. No matter how big of a badass you think you are........this is what happened here.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • tampamike

      really so the person who follows you has rights that the person being followed doesnt have??? really

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      If someone slaps your left cheek, offer your belly for a bullet!

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      He didn't "just" follow him. He confronted him in a belligerent manner.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade Is Lame

      So you were there and you know everything that happened right. Oh wait you weren't there and you don't know what happened. People need to stop walking around with guns like they are cops. Police are trained to handle guns not idiots like you are George Zimmernan.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benji2012

      Sorry, but blatantly following someone especially at night is a hostile and aggressive act. You can't deny it makes the person being followed uneasy and causes a genuine safety concern. There's a major difference in someone just walking in the same direction as you opposed to be tracked and follow. For the latter, it's natural to assume the person is wishing to cause you harm. Having lived in big, urban cities someone following you means they're getting ready to mug you.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade

      My only point here is that unless someone attacks you physically........you dont have the right to punch them in the nose. Ok tell me why im wrong here Martin supporters.......thug replies welcome.....and likely!!

      April 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nick Bruiser

    Zimmerman will walk.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Yea, the relatively low bond is a pretty good indication that the judge believes Zimmerman has a very good chance of being found not guilty.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      He sure will...like some of the news people said, the defense caught them today with egg on their faces....and they will do much more of it when it goes to trial. And then the Martin family and their attorneys...if that was not a clown act. They don't accept any apology, they don't like this, they don't like that...on and on and on and on and on............keep it up and see how far that gets you with the general public....they want so bad to make it a hate crime...

      April 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Noelle

    How the hell did he get 150k bond when the prosecution was asking for 1mil? Total BS and favorable treatment for the defense already. WOW

    April 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      The defense was looking for only $15k. It'll be okay though, because he'll basically be under house arrest and will not have firearms.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade

      You will not be happy with any of the facts as they emerge. Trust me:)

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      They only have to give around the 10% mark

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JD

    I don't think he should have received bail. He has already proven that he is a flight risk, he left the state of Florida after the incident. I think his former Dad judge is lying and the 'bond money' will actually be coming from the 'pay pal' money he is raking in from his website.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Seriously JD ? Tell us, what would you do if the New Black Panther Party was plastered all over the news media offering a $10,000.00 dollar reward for you, DEAD OR ALIVE ? Would you just go home and close the blinds or would you take your family somewhere safe ?

      April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade

      You hide or you die when people are putting bountys on your head and tweeting you address. Thats what an innocent man would do as well..........sorry he values his own life.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve- Illinois

    "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."

    Game, set, match!!!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • tampamike

      the only problem with that statement is he was no where near his truck when he killed the kid, explain that.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve- Illinois

      Explain what? He walked away from his truck to keep an eye on Martin, when he lost him, he turned back toward his truck. Unlike on Star Trek, you don't automatically find yourself at your destination, you have to actually walk there. So between where he turned back, and the location of his vehicle, is where he was attacked!

      Not rocket science!

      April 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. matown2

    White people are arcist to the core and they alwayz will be that is clearly obvious

    April 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      wow, wow wow seems like the racist card is now on the the other foot. seems like the black population is showing how racist they really are. Ignoring facts and evidence only seeing race as the issue and sir you are one of the worst.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • songdude

      I think that by what you just said would make you, yourself sound racist. Hemmmm, just sayin'. the only people that cause so much rukus are the people who will not let go of the past and continue to blame society for not wanting to go out there and make something of themselfs. Everyone white and black was under slavery at some time in history, it was not just blacks. look what happened in the beginning of time. who do you think built all those pyramids in the middle east. they sure weren't paid to do it. the world is more than black and white. we have other colors here to that matter, and you don't here about them causing so much trouble within society.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      That's a pretty racist statement.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade

      Says the racist. Or wait.........i bet you cant be racist. Its ok for you to generalize the opinions of 70% of this country, Dum Dum.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BlackDynamite

    When you're dealing with a 2nd-degree murder charge, $150K is a VERY LIGHT bond!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      The relatively low bond is a pretty good indication that the judge believes Zimmerman has a very good chance of being found not guilty.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
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