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.

Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
soundoff (1,341 Responses)
  1. BD Willie

    It's time for Rev Al to start packing and quit smellin up Sanford. Marh all you want coats to coast and hand out Romney 2012 flyers while your at it.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. tracy

    I hope this psycho doesn't go post office crazy while he is out.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • D Dowg

      Hope someone gets him first!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    Okay I've been reading and listening. Why dosn't he just stay in jail. He says he can't work. Three square meals a day and a roof over his head. He says he worries about his safety. 24 protection,.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. meme

    people that say Zimmerman stalked Martin are just speculating. Zimmerman says that when he was told not to follow Martin, he stopped. We dont know if that is true or not but why are people assuming he continued to follow him? People have already made it up in their minds that he is guilty. I say let the jury decide and I pray that the truth comes out.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Lilarose1941

      We know Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon after being told not to because Zimmerman then killed Trayvon. Is that simple enough to understand? If you are suggesting Trayvon, who had indicated on the phone to his girlfriend that he was concerned about Zimmerman, then went after Zimmerman, I think not. Trayvon was approached and Zimmerman picked a fight with him, that is when Zimmerman got "injured." Zim got what he deserved, and I hope Florida will not put yet another murderer back on the streets like they are wont to do.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. pete

    get ready for the riots, take cover in a bookstore, they never get looted.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. harry zoyster

    Now the Liberal extremists will be free to unleash their racist lynch mobs on him.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      Yes, it is really sad that they lack the ability to remain impartial.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • ObmaJoe

      Now flour lovers will be free to unleash their racist lynch mobs on him.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Malcom

      Congrats to Zimmerman......free like he should be. Im also very thankful he had the chance to mentor and be there for those two african american boys. Never seen a racist do that in my life!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade

      Lets hope they hide him well. Its about time we learned what really happened that night, and Zimmerman is exonerated. It will be interesting to see how the lynch mob responds when the evidence is revealed. Seein/hearing the cheers for a guilty OJ, leads me to expect the worst. But time will tell....I feel horrible for what he has been through, and for the parents of Martin. But this man is not a murderer..............lets hope the raging Martin supporters can accept they may have been wrong here.......

      April 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. ObmaJoe

    In this country,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,when it's about business ,,,,,,,,,,sorry is nothing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,fake,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he is not sorry at all,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,don't mix it up with he is feeling he did wrong,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,who cares that cheap sorry ???????????

    April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      420 a little early today huh?

      April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Lcpl R

      Maybe,,,,,,,,,,,if you ever,,,,,,,considered that,,,,,,,,,,,,,,self-defense comes,,,,,,,,,,,,at a,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,price,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,hopefully you won't ever need to use deadly force to defend yourself, seeing as you want to rot in jail for it

      April 20, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Connie

    Zimmerman has an excellent attorney.. This was NOT a cold blooded killing. Prepare for round two of Sharpton and gang...More interviews, more rallies, more commotion, rather than wait for it all to be dealt with in a court of law. Where both sides can present their evidence.. Fat chance, there are those who just want to call this racist and conduct a hanging.This was not racist.. Judge Lester also was very impressive, I doubt anything will get past him.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • ObmaJoe

      You can say it's not cold enough ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • N. B

      I dont think anyone is saying this is cold blooded and premeditated.. but what is for sure is that Zimmerman is responsible for a death that probably shouldnt have happened.. I agree with the 2nd degree murder approach in that if the jury doesnt agree they can always say manslaughter, which is probably what this is.. Bottom line here is that Zimmerman could have prevented this murder by allowing cops to do their job!! He has to serve his time for his crime!! He should not have been allowed to just say self defense without there being a real investigation.. if thats the case everyone can use that!!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      Sure they can come to the court of law to present evidence but that does not change the fact that the victim is, in fact, dead and cannot testify against his murderer. Zimmerman can practically make himself seem innocent because there is no one that can prove him otherwise. All facts aside, he killed an unarmed young man and should be prosecuted and punished for his actions. It also does not help that the Sanford Police Dept. did not do their job correctly in recording all of the stated facts of this case, allowing Zimmerman to have a bit of leeway in his testimony.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |


      April 20, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. dhondi

    Justice for Daniel Adkins!

    April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. doubler

    All the black activists are going ballistic now, which just goes to show how bogus their chants of "we want justice" really were. Bail is part of the legal system. The judge looks at the facts of the case, and decided whether or not to grant bail. Bail IS part of the justice system. Get a clue............

    April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Risse

      Glad he got bail........hopefully his security team will suck!!!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Bail is apart of the judicial system. However, those accused of serious crimes are never offered bail. The facts that he may flee his town and that his life is in danger, is all the more reason to keep him in jail. Personally, I have no idea whether or not he will be convicted of anything but considering the fact that Zimmerman wasn't forced to kill or stalk a teenager, he should serve time until the case wraps up. The fact that bail was set for a murderer, lets us know that the judge has a favorable opinion of Zimmerman. The evidence, has been made public, so have the arguments. It's very likely that Zimmerman will get away with murder.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Patricksday

    Pocket change for his rich Judge daddy

    April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. gowardi

    How come they mention nothing of Trayvon's face? When trying to determine self-defense, it seems logical to examine both assailants' faces and body for injuries, does it not? Yet everyone seems to be judging this case on only what Zimmerman's face looks like. Good grief.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • N. B

      that too shall be revealed.. It seems to me that there might be some discrepancies in the story, vs, evidence, vs Martins body!! hmmm...

      April 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. harry

    The state should only show pictures of Trayvon Martin at 5 years old, so that people feel more sorry and want to convict Zimmerman even more. Even better if the Martin family has pictures of Trayvon at 5 years old eating skittles it would be even better. Even though I think that Zimmerman (Who is NOT WHITE by the way) should have been in big trouble from the beginning, it's so obvious the state is trying to stop the blacks from setting everything on fire.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. VzzyforthePeople

    Dear America,

    The laws apply to those who can not afford to contest. Before I go what is the value of the life of a black male? .....

    – The watcher

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. michwill1974

    After looking at the bond hearing I think Zimmerman's hindsight is 20/20 now. He reacted first and thought about it later. This can be attributed to the lies that he told in his statement. He has an uphill battle with the prosecutors because after he said I'm sorry he was on his behind.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44