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. Barbara

    Zimmerman has apologized to the family of Travon. I'm not really able to accept his apology as follower of this case.Because in his apology that he adressed to Travon's Mother and Father he stated that he was not aware if Travon had a gun. Now if he was concerned about Travon having a gun he would not have followed Travon. My thing is that George Zimmerman know in his own mind and the evidence shows that he had a gun on him. So I believe that he approached Travon ready to have a gun fight if need be. Why else would he follow him. I'm not buying it. This is just something that he has come up with after the fact. Because he clearly was not concerned about Travon having a gun at the time of the incident.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Riddlemethis

      Exactly Right.
      If Zimmerman did not have a gun, would he have gotten out of his car to follow and approach Trayvon Martin? HELL NO!
      We live in a world overrun by emasculated men that use guns as testosterone.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    @MIke – "The statement made by the dispatcher was "we don't need you to do that". Telling someone "we don't need you to do that" and "stop doing that" are two different things."
    The dispatcher does not have the authority to tell someone to "stop doing that", so telling Z that "we don't need you to do that" is the politically correct correct way to tell someone to "stop doing that". Either way, the instructions were ignored. You're splitting hairs.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Prince elfancy scott

    We have seen justice befor and now we need more of it in a clear manner due i knew that judgment is going to be don

    April 20, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. TrueAmerican

    G.Z. was a true christian amercan leader. the american pucblic needs to wake up

    April 20, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Riddlemethis

    If Zimmerman did not have a gun, would he have gotten out of his car to follow and approachTrayvon Martin? HELL NO!
    We live in a world overrun by emasculated men that use guns as testosterone.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kyle

    A little food for thought. Why is it that Zimmerman would follow Treyvon to the extent that he did (i.e. – not just pursuing and calling the police, but actually getting out and confronting him face to face)? Does that seem right? How would you feel if some random person (regardless of color, religion, etc.) decided to pursue you? Make no mistake about it, thats what happened. Furthermore at what point does it become okay to shoot an unarmed person regardless of the laws in any state?

    Clearly this is all speculation until there are some facts proved in this ordeal, but seriously put yourself in both situations and then think about it. I'm not sure what someone would have to do to get me to shoot them, but I'm pretty sure i would have been much more bruised and battered from the struggle before taking such drastic measures.

    To me this comes down to three main questions:

    1. Why did Zimmerman pursue him as he did (and more imporantly was that even justified)?

    2. What facts are there to validate the altercation that the two had? Bear in mind that a simple coroners test will show this as Treyvon would likely have Zimmerman's skin under his nails, trama to his hands (where he supposedly hit Zimmerman), and any other identifiable characteristics indicating a fight/struggle?

    3. What does the ballistics test say. We should all know that in today's day and age we can easily show where the entry/exit wounds were. This leads to the trajectory that the bullet entered the body and thus will lead to how the kid was shot. This is important because the claim is that Zimmerman was defending himself and on his back. The only likely trajectory would be from the ground up based on that.

    We will see how this unfolds, but it seems everyone has their own pre-set determinations already. I just ask everyone to think logically and not emotionally.

    I'd love to hear some logical discussion about this as opposed to opinion/emotion based comments.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tim

    I'm not being sarcastic or trying to be ironic, but out of all of the articles I've read (not a lot of them) about this case, I still fail to see where anyone's getting this racial profiling claim from? Can someone post a link to the details that outline this? Regardless of the case, if this guy is some crazy gun toting manic with no valid reason for engaging and shooting the kid, or if it played out exactly like he said it did, I still don't see this connection at all to conclude there's any reasonable thought this could be racially motivated. That just makes the issue into something else and takes away from the seriousness of the actual event, if it's not true.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. Christopher Wood

    "Zimmerman also said he thought Martin was older than he was..."

    With all the pictures we've seen, I think it was quite CLEAR he was 12 years old...lol

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Malcom Marcus Martin King

    Zimmerman is not the sharpest tool in the shed. If the proscecution is smart (which I think they are and will be), Zimmermans statements about the "age of Trayvon Martin" will serve as evidence that he profiled. To profile means to make "an analysis (often in graphical form) representing the extent to which something exhibits various characteristics;". If we don't know anything else, he said that he thought he was older. Does that mean if he was younger he would not have accosted Trayvon Martin? HELLO PEOPLE, HE PROFILED....AND ADMITTED THAT HE PROFILED INCORRECTLY...IN ZIMMERMAN'S MIND BY ADMISSION, "I THOUGHT I SHOUT AN OLDER BLACK MALE THAN I WAS EXPECTING."...None the less, mission accomplished he killed an unarmed black male that was "STANDING HIS GROUND" against a vigilante perpetrator. ZIMMERMAN WAS THE AGRESSOR AND THE PERP.......

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. JOJO

    This case is very revealing of all that is wrong with this Country...A biased media...Un-educated masses that don't have a basic understanding of our laws and judicial system...rampid racism...exploitation of someone's misery for own agenda...lack of common sense decision making...list could go on.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bail Posted

    This just in,,,,,

    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson post bail for Zimmerman as they feel since he is also a minority that he is being put down by the man.


    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. sf


    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • TripleSnap

      You obviously don't know very many black people otherwise you would not post such ignorant comments for all of the world to see. First, let's establish that racism is real. No matter how much you want to deny racism, our country was founded on racist principles. Second, racism is an extension of racial profiling. One cannot exist without the other. Third, this case has to do with racism, racial profiling and guns in the United States. Finally, black people are no more violent than white Americans in the United States. In fact, I will argue that black people are less violent than white people in the U.S. All one has to do is take a stroll down memory in lane in any American history book to see this fact.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave From Philly

    Sad to think so many people have no reguard for life. Martin is dead and some post he got what he deserved. Zimmerman is on trial for his life (in some respects) and many want him dead. The bail amount proves nothing. That fact that he got bail proves nothing. If anything the verdict may not prove anything either (remembering OJ's verdict). Only thing I know for sure is a kid is dead and this incident should have never happened.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. whatever

    I know people in jail for lesser crimes who are innocent who have much higher bail. One had bail set at 300k. Not saying that that this is right or wrong either way on this case, just that I bet the media coverage has lead to a more fair bail to be set than cases that don't get such coverage.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. gow75

    to all people that respond to this you are just buying into the hype. This scenario occurs all the time all over the world. NOT A BIG DEAL the media is just trying to stir a race war as usual if you are dumb enough to fall for it. This is advertising and marketing at its worst. do not buy into the hype, it only makes them look good on their side and fills their heads with more hot air for an ego boost.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
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