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. Justin lewis

    The judge is really serious about this case I see people with less charges in the past with higher bail. That $150k was very comfortable so Zimmerman was able to make bail-what a slap in the victims family face.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bail Posted

    Thanks to Jesse and Al Sharpton for supporting the latino minority and posting bail. Zimmerman is being picked on because of his race.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Trayvon Dont Count ON The System to Be Fair

    Zimmerman 150,000 bail......... How much is the bond for the black lady in Texas that shot the white lady and took her baby........ Too many zeros to add .... She wont get out. Althought I feel that she shouldnt. She took an innocent womans life..... Just an example how race is a factor in every case......

    April 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • reason

      The two cases have NOTHING in common other than that someone died. If this is the kind of thinking skills you have, I suggest you just let the Big Boys work this out.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Benji2012

    A bond trial is just that a bond trial. It doesn't indicate what happens during the actual trial. I know of quite of few people that got out on bond and are currently serving lengthy prison terms.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kim

    THE CHARGE IS NON-BONDABLE IN FLORIDA! The judge could use his discretion provided the prosectution had evidence and they did. They had an investigator, they quoted a witness and had one of many affidavits. The judge still set a bond because his real robe is white with a hood and not black.

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

    Ridiculous legal crap. I'm so sick of hearing about this story, from all sides. Both kids seem like thugs, and when you live a life glorifying violence, crime, gangs, and guns, things like this end up happening. But the way the attorneys are grilling Zimmerman is absolutely insane. Why didn't he apologize to the victim's parents sooner? Seriously? Which officer/detective/cop-thing was told which words by you at which second? Our legal system has become such a joke. Is what happened a crime or not? Bottom line. Get down to the facts and stop beating around the bush of what coulda shoulda mighta been said. Judges should be held accountable to dismiss rambling lawyers like this guy.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reality Check

    It's sad and pathetic that there are still simple minded people is this world... My question still remains who gave White America the permission to think they run everything? I have never seen such a group of people that are born into ignorance. You people Blacks are always marching for something, well you White people figure that manipulating the system to accomodate and benefit you is correct. This is a case of injustice on all parts... 1. Zimmerman was out of line for what he did without cause ...this idiot had no visable bruises or nose injuries, but because he said it, it was beleived....now had that been the other way around ...2. This Black kid would be dead (because of the justice system and the racists cops) AND 3. There would be no need for a trial.... Bottom line, the only way justice will probably be served in these YET to be UNITED STATES of America, is if it is served by JUST US!!!!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trayvon Wasahood

      Sure.. right.. those poor black people... If only you guys could get your act together and get a guy in power – like the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES – who knows what you could do?? Stop whining. If a black guy can become president, then you need to shutup and get on with your life and stop making excuses.

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

      Nobody had to "give white people" anything. Blacks just don't care to compete. Or don't really care about much of anything. What'll your excuse be when Hispanics and Asians start to overtake whites in population, educational achievement, and social standing due to immigration and/or hard work? Who will you blacks blame then?

      April 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sofa King

    I sure hope the jury pool isn't chosen from CNN commenters.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Benji2012

    "There is NO law that says Zimmerman cant follow anyone, Martin is the one who took it upon himself to hjit Zimmerman first"

    You were there? If not, You have no proof whether Martin struck first.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ga104.

    I am sure the defense is happy they were able to remove the previous this current judge with setting bail at $150,000 is not serious about this case apparently.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mark

    Zimmerman is a murderer. Period. The facts that are already known clearly demonstrate as much.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trayvon Wasahood

      I think that the trial will show that Zimmerman was just taking out the trash... Trayvon was going to lead a short life either way. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Justice4all

    Being followed by a strange man through the neighborhood warrants a type of behavior. Martin may have assaulted Zimmerman, as to defend himself from the weird man chasing him down the street. I certainly would throw up my fists if I felt my life was in danger. But, Martin is no longer available for comment.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Trayvon Wasahood

    This isn't going to turn out well for the members of the black community who are stomping their feet.
    The prosecution was put forth due to the Governor who wanted to quell the unrest. Just another "Monkey trial". Trayvon is not going to be looking good after this trial. His parents should have taken a reality pill, buried the guy, and moved on with their lives instead of living in denial that Trayvon was a hood. The judge was reasonable in his bail amount. It looks like this judge will cut through the BS and allow a fair trial. I think the prosecutor is going to have to wipe mud off her face continually as this trial runs. That's ok as she is one ugly lady.. the mud might improve her looks!

    April 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • strgzer585

      @BeverlyNC....You may want to try and get your facts from somewhere besides the comments sections on these stories.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. High Hopes

    I blogged for years about corruption and cover-ups perpetrated by authorities who attempted to protect their own. It's a sad state of affairs to witness the same, here. It is the responsibility of all people, black and white, to hold our authorities accountable. Treyvon could have been your son, your brother, nephew, cousin or friend. Look beyond color and you will find a whole new world that needs change... Why not start here?

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

      I agree. The murder of this young teenager was going to be ignored by the police until his parents began asking questions. The police did not investigate the scene, did not interview witnesses, did not protect the crime scene, took an uninjured Zimmerman directly to the police station with no medical treatment (for he needed none for not being attacked as he later lied about) and then let him go with no intent of following up any further. Trayvon belonged in that community for his father lived there and had just gone out for a snack for his little brother. If the races were reversed, Zimmerman would have been arrested and charged that very night and charged with 1st degree murder. It's sickening this upstanding young black teenager was murdered and the police were going to ignore it. Zimmerman is guilty and his family is using their influence to spin lies about that night to taint the jury. We need justice for Trayvon and every other gun murder victim from these insane gun laws in our nation that cause the most gun deaths in the world. The NRA needs to lose its power so we can stop all the murderous gun laws that lead to so many unnecessary deaths. No one but hunters, police and the military need ANY access to guns.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trayyvonn

      "Treyvon could have been your son, your brother, nephew, cousin or friend. Look beyond color and you will find a whole new world that needs change... Why not start here?"

      Why not start by holding thugs' PARENTS, especially minor thugs' parents, accountable for not being decent parents? This goes for both the Zimmerman AND the Martin families. Who raises their son to worship crime and weapons? Only in America's low classes.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mark

    If there is an all white jury he could get off, which would be another slap in the face of the African-American community. That is obviously what his attorneys will be hoping to accomplish.

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