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. person

    ...and justice for all!

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Troma

    I love to read the posts from all the bleeding hearts on here that have been played by the media

    April 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kim32244

    The judge should have worn his white robe instead of leaving it at home! Are you serious? 150 grand for a non-bondable offense? Even after the prosecution presented their evidence – investigators, an affidavit, witness statements.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Cam431106

      I'm with you Kim. That bond amount is outrageous. I can go on and on about this case, we just have to wait to see how it plays out.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tam

    Wow, such a slap in the face against the family. This is some BS if I have ever seen it.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Wade The Blade

      Dear lynch mob.............. Facts mean nothing, this trial is unneccesary, and now it looks as though you will say the Judge is partial. You want a lighter skin man to pay for the dealth of a darker skin man........period. And this case on the surface, appeared to be an oppertunity to get back at the white man. Sorry victims, the guy is hispanic, and he was defending himself...........find another oppertunity to cry victim please. Like it or not the law will prevail.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. KML

    This is a manslaughter charge at most... Everything he did after being told to not pursue is his own fault but I don't think he should have to spend the rest of his life in jail for this crime... FYI, I am a Black male and this is not about race people, it's about right and wrong... His intentions in protecting the neighborhood were good but a Neighborhood watch stops at that and you let the professional comes do the rest.

    Let us let the race of this case go and make it about the facts...

    April 20, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Cam431106

      Hey KML, what do you think is going to happen to George Zimmerman if he doesn't spend the rest of his life in prison for this crime. Do you think he will be able to live his life the way he did before this incident occurred? He may spend the rest of his life in hiding or watching his back. Which one is better? Doesn't sound like either one is a great deal. But this is the hand he dealt for himself.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Darlene

      KML, well said. Someone of your integrity should be representing the black community instead of the current so called leaders, Sharpton, Jackson, Black Panthers, etc.. You have taken race out of the equation and see it as it should be, facts. Thank you for sharing your very logical opinion.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. wow...u kidding?

    Only chance for a fair trial is a white jury

    April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. get real people!

    are you an idiot or something? first off...what officer? Zimmerman is NOT an officer, he is not white, he is a minority himself, and was the neighborhood watch guy in regular clothes with a loaded gun. Secondly... what does martin's suspension from school have to do with what happened this night? nothing... even if Travon kicked Zimmerman's butt..he was an unarmed teen confronted by an aggressive strange adult.. any of us would have felt threatened, and defended ourselves. As for your statement that’s so unlike what really happened…. “Had the young man been white and the officer black, THERE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN AN EYEBROW LIFTED” …you are right, there wouldn’t have been, because if an officer shot an unarmed teen carrying some skittles and iced tea, he would have been arrested, unlike Zimmerman was, which is what all of this is about. You ask what is wrong with our judicial system? Good question, what IS wrong with our system when a young unarmed teen can be profiled, killed, and no arrest until a public outcry? Better yet, what is wrong with our society when people like you can’t see how wrong this is? Yeah none of us were there, but there are facts here that we do know, which shows that whatever happened, it shouldn’t have resulted in this teen’s death. Get real! Zimmerman is not only a murderer, he’s a coward who apparently picks fights he can’t win unless he pulls a gun…

    April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Victor Hayes

      Well stated.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Rod in Texas

      You should have watched the bond hearing and heard the evidence before you opened your uneducated mouth. The lead investigator admitted that Zimmerman had two lacerations on the back of his head which are consistant with being hit with a hard object. If the state requested no bond or $1,000,000 bond and the judge settles on $150,000.00, that is proof right there that even the judge isn't convince Zimmerman is a threat to society.

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

      get real people

      you're an absolute idiot. you claim because he was an unarmed teen that zimmerman had no right to defend himself with a gun? how bout you go and get punched, fall to the ground and have some guy who is 6' 2" and 200lbs start punching you and slamming your head into the concrete and then you come back and tell me if you would have liked to of had a gun to defend yourself. you pathetic losers make me sick. trayvon was not an innocent kid. he was a punk thug who was looking for trouble and got what he deserved.

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

      What's wrong with our system is that MOST of the racism everybody is speaking of ONLY exists in the black neighborhoods.
      Where's Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee damning the young BLACK lady who SHOT the young WHITE Lady this past week in Houston and STOLE her 3 day old baby. Maybe the black activists should be doing a better job of taking care of their own before they start blaming the problems in the black communities created by the dwellers themselves on WHITE people..
      The Civil War and Slavery ended years ago. It did take a while for everybody to work out the details, but get over it already. The only place everything is a BLACK and WHITE issue is in your life – Racist!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      Trayvon found out that what you say is not true. Look what happens when you attack someone for no reason. He will be released, aquitted and then get rich off of movie and book deals while you're there fuming.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Grinning Libber

    Sorry??? Only that his sorry rear will be spending a long long time in prison.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Rod in Texas

      Did you even watch the bond hearing? The state's case is all based on hear say. It is very weak.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      The defense case is also based on heresay and should be considerd just as weak.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rod in Texas

    I watched the entire bond hearing. The state has a very weak case. One of the lead investigators couldn't even say who wrote the probable cause affidavit and where they got the language they used in it yet he signed it as being true. Zimmerman will go free which is good. Another thing is Martin was on the phone with a girl at the time of the attack. Why did the state wait 5 WEEKS before interviewing her. I can't tell you what I ate for dinner 2 days ago so how is she supposed to remember details from 5 weeks ago. She was exposed to far too much media coverage during that time.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • N. B

      same reason why they didnt arrest Zimmerman in the first place.. they didnt think Martins life was worth anything until his parents made a fuss!! if a proper investigation had happened right after the crime then Im fairly certain that she would have been interviewed right away.. but uhm, when you dont give a damn about the little black boy that just got killed of course you will just take short cuts!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    This was an unfortunate accident, nothing more. It's being blown out of proportion.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Pam

      Trayvon is "blown" dead because Zimmerman acted as an overaggressive wanabee cop.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • N. B

      sure until it was your child at the other end of the barrel!! Im sure you would want justice too.. and you go to any length to get it..

      April 20, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • B McClellan

      JUST an unfortunate incident. How insensitive!! A child is dead. If it were your child it would not be JUST an unfortunate incident.!!!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Rod in Texas

      Pam.......your "victim" Martin was a pot smoking drug addicted suspended from school for failing to follow the law. Your "victim" wasn't so innocent.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. paula sims

    Too many village Lawyers and Judges let the justice system play out itself

    April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Pam

    If Trayvon had been the self appointed wanabee cop following Zimmerman with a gun and ended up killing him and said to the cops he did so because the man fought back, Trayvon would have been arrested for murder and put in jail and no questions would have been asked.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. facts

    marcuswhite: your pathetic member of society if your making those comments.... your language is very inappropriate .

    April 20, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. siti6104

    why is race such an important thing to worry about? Why not the fact that "LIFE" is! The sad part is that Trayvon Martin is dead, but George Zimmerman isn't. People kill me, if he (T.M.) was going to shoot him why just beat him up? Make some sense! Why bash his head (supposedly) instead of shoot him in the head? No sir. it's apparent that there will be no fair case. As for the black lady and the white woman, why don't you use names instead of race? You want to tell someone some news post it! Quit using race to fuel anger that is already here. We don't need more gas on an already explosive topic.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • this is crap

      You are absolutely correct. That was not even a black/white issue. It was a crazy woman who wanted a baby. If any other race of woman was out there, the same thing would have happened to them.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. paula sims

    I think it was an accidental death I hope the parents will forgive him

    April 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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