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. DaZman

    if u don't wanna be profiled like u r a thievin, killin, gangsta / drug deala then don't dress like one and wander round in the dark - can u dig that suckas? Zman out – peace y'all

    April 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • White 57 year old male

      So walking while black makes you a thug?

      April 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trayvon Dont Count ON The System to Be Fair

    Zimmerman with only a 150,000 bond. Murder charge and thats all. To The Martins, Keep the faith in God!!!!! As you can see.... This trail is not going to be fair.... The Koch Brothers paid for his lawyer. Can you imagine all the wealthy people that are supporting him.....This is why he dropped his first lawyers and went with Omara.
    I dont look forward to justice as being fair to this family...

    April 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Geri Chatmon

    FREE TO KILL AGAIN!!! The prosecutor asked if he had told the police that he was sorry for killing an unarmed child who just went to the store to buy some candy and he lied and said he had. When told that it could be confirmed. He tried to fix it with a quickie apology to Trayvon's family. He is arrogant and WILL kill again! His wife also lied. With Zimmerman's history of violence, undoubtedly, she, herself, has been subject to it. In each case, he also claimed "self-defence". Trayvon had no history of violence.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve- Illinois

      You really need to work on your reading comprehension, since you misplaced almost every fact laid out directly in front of you.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      People leave out the facts where they know it will benefit them the most...They are calling him a BIGOT!!!!!!! Yet he mentored two black kids for two years!!!!!!!! A bigot does NOT do that.....open your eyes instead of your mouth all the time...

      April 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fl pioneer

    55 Days ago GZ said he was going after my gun. Now it's "I thought he was armed". A 17 year old kid walking at sunset in an area he had every right to walk freely unapproached, doing no wrong. I really like how the st attorney did today. He's a pit bull. I really respect the heart he demonstrated in belief of this case. I feel bad for the Martin's to be exploited in such a way. Talk about poor taste. Sincereity would have been a letter weeks ago, expressing remorse. But, for once, it's been awhile, we see expert lawyers on both sides. With recent headline cases, many have not had competant defense teams, imo. It's nice to see justice, so far, so okay, he got a low bond, so good too generous

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

    That was malicious of the prosecution to revoke bail over an altercation of battery with an unidentified ATF officer the courts down graded to coverup to the officers deriliction of duty.

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

    Wow, I hope that detective does better on the stand at the trial. I am not sure this will go to trial if the prosecution does not do a better job of articulating how they know Zimmerman "confonted" Trayvon...Know it was just a bail hearing but that was pathetic.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. m0lly

    Karma. That's it.. Karma !

    April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A Believer

    All of you racist ppl are missing the point. This was a KID that Zimmerman Killed. You can look at him and tell he is a child. Zimmerman is not a cop he had know business following that KID and the 911 operator told him not too. He broke that LAW and need to be jailed! If it was vice versa TRAYVON would have got the electric chair. All you racist people need to get over yourself. WE black people are here to stay and we have a BLACK PRESIDENT! So let justice be served for Trayvon Martin and think about his family before you make these horrible comments. Can you have a heart and remember it could have been your child walking from the store.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer NYC

      I agree with you. Mr. Zimmerman caused the entire episode because he did not stop following Trayvon. I am a parent, not black, and it makes me sick that this young man was killed.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • LabRat

      Change your handle to A Kool-Aid Drinker.

      You have YET to SEE a current picture of Trayvon Martin. The pic that every news agency in the country splashes up is when he was about 12.

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

      They can't get past it because they are too busy trying to label him as a thug because he had on a hoodie and the color of his skin. I wonder and dying to know how it would had played out if the tables were turned. I mean of course we would not had the chance to walk free for 45 days thats for sure. But its ok Zimmerman will get his and I hope real soon.

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

      I agree – I think the bond hearing was a travesty... I think his savvy former judge Dad has been helping him – with creating his back story. I think he will have NO problem coming up with his 10% of his bond – I believe he has been raking it in from his website.

      PS. President Obama is BI-RACIAL and I wish people would remember that fact. More and more children are and they need a role model who publicly pronounces this. Saying he is only black is disrespectful to his mother who raised him!

      April 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • reason

      You engage in so much speculation it is evident your are terribly biased. It is frightening to think there may be people on the jury that think like you. First, we do not know what Trayvon looked like on the night of the incident because all of the photos shown by the media are years old. Second, it appears you are not very well informed as "kids" are very capable of terrible violence.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Oh Well

    You can run a long ways in 3 days!!!!!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Larry

    After Zimmerman is cleared of all charges, he should sue Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Martin's family for training a lynch mob against him.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. M.O.D.N.A

    Just ask yourself what position would you take if your child was tracked and hunted down like an animal while coming from a store to go home.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Clearly Martin's parents showed no concern for his well being before the incident, since they let hims become a belligerent thug, who initiated the physical conflict.

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

      yeah, I'd ask that too if I were Zimmermans dad... why would somebody stalk and then attack my son like an animal... see, I can do it too!!

      April 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dakota2000

    I think the video of him apologizing was convincing. If does not excuse what he did, and it made the prosecutor look like mean and viscous. There should have been a moment of respect for the family before launching into an assault.

    I still think he will be convicted, but the family needed to hear some kind words from Zimmerman.

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

    All I can say is I sure hope the prosecution has more evidence when this case goes to trial, because from what I heard today, I'm surprised they charged the guy. No one really seems to know what happened, including the investigators, I sure hope they didn't arrest this guy, because of the media, and I sure hope the Martin family will not suffer anymore, I mean really, they lost their son. The media and big mouth politicians may have forced an arrest, without the facts. I hope I'm wrong, but if you watch the hearing, all I can say is WOW.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Arizona

    Funny that George Zimmerman is sorry for the loss of the Trayvon Martin's parents' son but his supporters - especially those commenting here - ARE NOT. As a Christian, I bet the majority of the people posting the hateful comments, call themselves Christians. The hypocrisy is stunning.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. descarado

    Hard not to cheer for someone being chased by a lynch mob. Run Zimmy, Run!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
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