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. Kim is an lDIOT.



    April 20, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • BeSmart

      Here here

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

      Time and Newsweek did some "air brushing" to OJ Simpson when he was on trial (for the first time). It's what the media does, distort facts to sell print!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. newshead12

    The media should have backed off of this a long time ago. The media cannot give justice, they need to get out of court cases.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. BeSmart

    Leave out the emotion people stick to facts... Dont get into hypothetical's let the facts come out and base your opinion on that.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • BeReal

      The reality is that Zimmerman, upon his own admission over the phone to the 911 dispatcher, stated that Trayvon Martin was running away, and out of the complex. Upon his own admission, it clearly sounds as though Trayvon rus afraid. you run away from someone when you are in fear, or scared. This situation was instigated by Zimmerman, and that's clear as day. You can't say someone looks guilty because they're walking slow. Zimmerman is a murderer. His phone call states all the needed facts that suggest that Martin was the one in fear, and Zimmerman was the aggressor, and pursuant

      April 20, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Leland

    Zimmermans going to prison and he should. His history follows,
    Fired from being a bouncer due to excessive fighting.
    Fired from security job due to excessive force and throwing a woman across the bar.
    Battery on a law enforcement officer WITH violence.
    Battery on a law enforcemnet officer w/o violence.
    Domestic violence against a female.

    It helps having a Superior court judge as a daddy and a mom as a clerk in the couty doesn't it Zimmerman? Daddy and mommy can't save you now. All those anger management classes didn't make a dent. Once a bully always a bully.

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

      His history might matter in a civil case, but in a criminal case they prove nothing.

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

      Not correct. Please check your informaiton before posting.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack the Ripper


      April 20, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Riley

      The judge heard the evidence about the so called violent past of Zimmerman and concluded they were all minor based on all his experience. Trayvon's mother said that she thinks it was all a mistake and that all she wants is an appogy. Today Zimmerman gave her one. This case has no evidence of murder and should now be dismissed. All of you race baiters need to calm down and pick your battles better. I think history shows that we need to address racism especially against the black community but this ain't that.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. High Hopes

    The state has a weak case?

    No surprise, here...

    The REAL case is against the city, itself!


    Justice... how sweet it is!

    April 20, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. lewis u

    innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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

      First there has to be a trial, which is what the parents wanted. Funny you say innocent until proven guilty, yet in his own words on the 911 call, Zimmerman had Trayvon guilty of breaking the law, being high on drugs and up to know good and Trayvon was about to get away, when Zimmerman left his vehicle. Also, Trayvon was guilty with the release of anonymous allegations of stealing and misconduct yet, its Zimmerman with the actual police record.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Peter Riley

    Whether Zimmerman was arrested right away or not may have contributed to the outcry but it has no bearing on his guilt or innocense. He was not in control of that. You have to separate your outrage toward where it belongs on that. As to his guilt or innocense the more evidence that comes out seems to all be in favor of Mr. Zimmerman's allibi. If this was not made to be a national racial issue and also a politcal issue in an election year I think and so do many defence lawyers think it should be thrown out. That is based on the affidavid that the procecution has presented.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • D Dowg

      Bet your white, ain'tcha.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Davis

    They should have made the bail $1 million. Mr. Zimmerman was looking for a fight that night. He thought he would scare the poor kid with his "Neighborhood Watch" macho. All he had to do was stay in his vehicle and wait for the real police to arrive. But no, he thought he was John Wayne. He sickens me.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Riley

      if what you believe were true I would be upset too. What the evidence so far shows is not anything like you say. I think you are biased.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • o2psd4me

      You have NO proof of anything you stated....
      Innocent untill Proven Guilty Remember that.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • denroy

      ... and you sicken me with your presumption of guilt. This is America not some third world country – people are innocent until proved guilty and you have a right and a duty to defend yourself if threatened. If you don't like it go and live somewhere else

      April 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sam P

    So, Trayvon apologists & race-baiters who rushed to judgment here, what do you have to say about the just-released picutres showing two gashes on the back of his head, pouring out blood? Or the statement from the photographer that Zimmerman's nose appeared bloodied & broken? Or the claims from the photographer who took the pics that Trayvon's "hoodie" was covered in gunfire residue, indicating shot at point blank range?

    It's evidence like this, which is just coming out now and supported Zimmerman & the eye witness claim that Martin was physically beating Zimmerman, that supported the Sanford PD decision not to arrest, and the Seminole County Sherrif's Office decision not to bring any charges. Only when the HNIC decided to throw his name behind this, did an arrest happen.

    It's too bad the state of Florida is protected by soveirn immunity, so it cannot be sued for false arrest & imprisonment.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Mother Nature

      Sam I see your point...but let me ask you this. If you were followed by a strange person much larger than you. What would your reaction be....at 17 years old?

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

      Also, how do you Trayvon wasn't reacting to the fact that he had a gun. Let me ask the question again...at 17 years old, if you were being followed and were confronted by someone with a visible gun in their belt...what would your reaction be?

      April 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • drobinson

      What would you do if you were being followed? Martin tried to lose him and Zimmerman continued to follow even after stating that he lost sight. Martin was "standing his ground" and defending himself from a grown man that had been following him for no reason and no acknowledgement of who he was. Zimmerman reached for his cell phone, but Martin wouldn't have known what he was reaching for and I would love to say that he didn't have a gun on him, but we all know that isn't true!!!! I'm not in support of either side, just in support of justice. Please don't make it seem like this young man was in wrong when he to was just defending himself from someone he didn't know that had been following him for no reason. Difference being that Martin didn't have a gun and Zimmerman did....question: why were you even caring a gun, period????

      April 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam P

      If I was being followed, the last thing I would do is turn & confront the person following me, like Martin did. In fact, what I would do, if I actually felt threatened, is call 911, not my girlfriend, which is what Martin did. And I certainly wouldn't assault the person with a punch to the nose, then jump on top of him & start banging his head into the ground, like Martin did. They guy may be armed . . .

      April 20, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. PH

    who the hell types this up? does anyone proof read it? what a mess. CNN needs to get it together.

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

    So is anybody else sick and tired of the Black community crying out "hate crime" every time someone Black is involved in a crime? Why can't whites cry out hate crime? Why can't every other race? Better yet, why are we still catering to these people's whiney demands?

    April 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      Your post is so ignorant and stupid. "Catering to these people's demands". Oh so let me guess you are not a racist? He shot an unarmed young man because he wanted to be ROBOCOP. Have some sympathy and stop with your ignorant remarks.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. si


    April 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Riley

      gun control laws have always been to keep guns out of the hands of black people. This only shows that black people need to be for the 2nd ammendment not against it.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • me138

      is the NRA on trial? NO. NRA never killed anyone.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mother Nature

    He would be a prison liability.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • me138

      why would he be a "prison liability"? that's ridiculous.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. ww

    He already threw away his future.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. pitt04

    .....here we go again.....another injustice ......

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