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. JOhn

    Why havent the parents and their lawyer been arrested for obstruction? Why are they only releasing photos of a 12 year od when he was 17 and 6'-4". Why has the courts not questioned th eparents hiring a public relations person to make this into a racist issue. WHY? Free George

    April 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      @ JOhn:
      You are 100% correct about the old photographs provided by the parents, who also wanted to profit from the sale of souvenir T-shirts. Viewers were already calling out the media at their first use of the babyfaced shots, saying that the "child" didn't even appear to be 16, which was the first false claim, in spite of his being 17.
      With the prosecution's required revelation of evidence about the start of the fight, I believe that the murder charge must be an attempt to placate hysteria among a rowdy, angry group, or a severe inability to understand facts.

      April 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      I would really hate to get into the heads of Martin's family, because I've never been there, and I hope I never am. I blame pressure groups led by Sharpton and others more than I blame the family. It is horribly indecent how he has preyed on their grief to make political points. As for the trial, I think it will become clear that the local authorities made the right call in the beginning – they suspected that Zimmerman committted murder, but didn't have enough evidence to convict.

      April 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patricia Fries

    The "apology" shows what kind of person Zimmermen is. Just by carrying the gun, a reasonable person should know that a tragedy can happen. What a joke and insult to now say you're "sorry". Both he and his attorneys should be a heck of lot respectful of the Martin family. Hopefully, they can stay strong while the Florida "justice system" takes it course, probably another unbelievable case.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ezekieldavid

    George Zimmerman stalked an unarmed child. He says he did not know whether Trayvon was armed, but he knew he was armed. He was looking for trouble under the guise of protecting his neighborhood. He should be convicted of 2nd degree murder and sent away. He is a dangerous, sneaky, troublemaker.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • He was not a child

      Hello people, stop calling him a child, he was pretty much an adult! If the case was reverse, he would be tried as an ADULT!!!!! I don't agree with what Zimmermen did but give me a break you all act like Martin was 10 years old!!!

      April 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolan

      He was not a child. He could not vote or smoke. He was under 18. He is still a young man or child to most of us. He was 11 or 12 years younger than the married man who killed him.

      April 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tooter

      A child is not 6 ' 4" – In size he was a man however, don't know about his abilities since he was a problem in school.

      April 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sofa King

    Wow, what a bunch of bloodthirsty hyenas most of you are. Now you all realize there is a process here, don't you? You realize a trial needs to take place, and that we don't know all the facts yet, right? You are all familiar with presumption of innocence until proven guilty, aren't you? Let me get your blood boiling – unless something really earth shattering comes out that we haven't seen yet, he will be found not guilty due to reasonable doubt. Then the wailing and cusrsing will begin anew.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolan

      @Sofa-Don't we have enough to get us going? He has already contradicted some of his 9-1-1 calls? That already gives us pause, right? Did he call him a teenager or is that a mirage? Then this morning he says he does not know how old Trayvon was. You are right time tells all.

      April 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proof

      @Dolan....show me proof of what you are saying!!!!! The media has put all that in your head! I want to see prooooof!!!! I did not hear him call Martin a teenager!!!! I think you are full of it!

      April 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolan

      Listen to the tapes yourself and see. I don't have to prove it. I am not a lawyer Sunni the lawyer on CNN said she even heard it. Wait for the trial, if the prosecutors are on the up and up they will play it and the tape from this morning to show how Zimmermans testimony changes with time.

      April 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • You have your mind made up already, so....

      Proof, you have your mind made up just as everyone else does...me? I'll wait until the trial. Sofa King is right. And here, just for you: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kellyintulsa

    Here goes nothing...lol. In my opinion Zimmerman is so far in the wrong it's not funny. He was told by police dispatch to leave the kid alone until they got there. Now if you or I had disobeyed what we had been told by a police officer or dispatch we would have been arrested right then and there. He has contradicted himself many times to the point his lawyer now has to try and make state investigators look they didn't do their job right. I say put the guy in prison and leave him there to rot. He's a threat and God forbid he's found not guilty I fear for society and any other person who might cross his path that he doesn't like.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. johnsonj3

    He is a cold blood murder, He is a cold blood murder and his family is taking up for him, hope he never gets a good night sleep ever again the rest of his life. praying for the Martin famliy that justice will be served in this case.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. You know nothing!

    It has not even been proved that it was Martin screaming in those tapes!!!!!!!!! Why don't you wait for all the facts before jumping to conclusions???

    April 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sunshine

    Zimmerman was not assaulted, everybody no's that. And that apology was fake as Hell? Who get bonded on murder charges these days.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Not no brothers fo shizzle.

      April 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I don't see how a jury could find Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter, much less murder, but I don't know what kind of jury the prosecution can stack.
    Knowing what we know even now about the evidence, I'd say that first decision to charge him was correct. It's just more clearly correct than it was before they sold the T-shirts.
    Emmett Till and the three young men buried under the dam in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were civil rights cases.
    This is not a civil rights case..
    Al Sharpton has come up with another Tawana Brawley error in judgment.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • You have your mind made up already, so....

      I'll wait for the trial.

      April 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • You have your mind made up already, so....

      And get off the t-shirt thing. Martin was no 'angle', but Zimmerman wasn't, either.

      April 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolan

      You have to pay for your lawyer some how. How is Zimmerman paying for his?

      April 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dolan

    I think if they have forensics from the scene, from Trayvons body and eyewitnesses they have more than enough. Time will tell.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dolan

    To justice for all.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Actually, I don't understand the legal necessity for Zimmerman's having to spend any time in jail, even to be charged, but I've never been arrested. I know Trayvon's parents wanted him in jail for at least a few nights, which is probably all they'll get.
    If the prosecution found it necessary to charge Zimmerman to please Sharpton, that other activist, the parents, and many others, why couldn't they have subpoenaed him for a court date?
    Zimmerman will show up in court to be found not guilty: the trial will add to his book sales.
    I plan to buy one of Zimmerman's books, and try to get him to autograph it.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Maggie

    I washed the trial today, and I hate to say this but I think if they wanted to charge Zimmerman, they would have done so day one. My feeling is that this case is a he said she said. Even listening to the other 911 calls (the witnesses calls) no one seemed to be able to see who started what. I think the police figured there was no way to prove the case, that's why they let him go and didn't press charges against him. I think the special DA was picked by higher ups to say she was capable of being fair, but in reality, they choose her to be the dumb elephant to say, hey we really do want justice. The problem is, we don't have any evidence, but I guess if the media backs us and the big mouth talking heads, maybe we can just send this guy to jail and everything will be solved. Don't think that's gonna happen, Zimmerman's lawyer asked a lot of good questions today.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • High Hopes

      Great post, Maggie!

      I can't tell you how happy I am to see you, again.

      Love Always,

      April 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Just the facts

    It does NOT matter who followed who, or who came back or who was profiled or who started the argument!!! Trayvon Martin was not killed because he was black, wearing a hoodie, or walking in the rain. He was shot when this 6 ft 3 in man decided to put his hands on somebody. Just because someone follows you or trys to question you, does not give you the right to attack them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolan

      Not the facts. I guess you were an eye witness?

      April 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolan

      Does it matter if one is killed?

      April 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    If you feel that strongly about George Zimmerman? If his bail is set for $150,000, that means his lawyer needs only 10% or $15,000 to spring little George Zimmerman. Since there's 1247 bloggers that feel sorry about the crooked hand George has been dealt, that means if "you" can afford, each of you $12.03 and give it in trust to his attorney, you can spring little George and have him cut loose by Monday morning. That's no gaurantee of course he'll live long enough to make his first appearance. 🙂

    April 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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