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. Brandon

    Black people, all you do cry about things being unfair. Why can you not just become civilized? I don't understand what is wrong with all of you. It's like you are all extremists or something. Your race is crap and I know you are ashamed of yourselves but suck it up and try for once.

    April 21, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |

      Brandon, if your a true man instead of the coward your words suggest. You should drive into your nearest metropolitan city where the blacks you claim to be so much bigger than reside. Walk your stupid tail up to the people you claim are inferior and say the same things you said on here. Pretty much, you won't... Cause a coward will be a coward. I wish I could meet you!

      April 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kellyintulsa

    I have read all these comments and I have to ask some of you a question. If a man was following you and came up on you in a threatening way would you not do everything you could do to defend yourself ? I know I would and I know I have taught my children to do the same. I'm ex military and I will fight with every fiber of my being to keep someone from hurting me. I think that Trayvon was doing just that defending himself to stay alive. Stop and think for a minute...if an adult man was yelling at you, following you and your only a minor and then actually puts his hands on you. It's fight or flight mode and Trayvon fought. I pray that God looks down and helps this family and the lawyers to do what is right and to put this man who in my opinion has some mental health issues behind bars where he can't hurt anyone else.

    April 21, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      very well said kelly.

      April 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foncell99

      You desgribe what most likely happend! Geoges injuries don't mean he was right to kill, his story holds up, it means he provoked a conflict, was loosing, and pulled his gun! Daddy has taught him to admit no wrong ever! He Made up a story, and he will stick to it until his last days! Unfortunatly, or legal system is no longer such. Ity's a business, and he most likely will get away with it!

      April 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©


      April 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Kelly, that's exactly what I'm saying... People do not understand how to be objective and place themselves in someone else's shoes. Great point

      April 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • catnip88

      you are so right!

      April 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. black man

    what a wonderful world we live in ha

    April 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Foncell99

    George Zimerman Killed Trayvo Martin. He started it, was loosing, and shot the kid. Whatever side, blief, bigoted thinking or not, all that kid was doing was walking home from the store, Had the right to be there. George didn't ask, assumed he was a criminal, and yes, George has been here before, and yesterday. He knew the Martins didn't want his apology now, told him through his attorney why, and he did it anyway. George has a history of not listening, self serving, and getting away with it. Like unfortunatly, he will again.

    April 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • catnip88

      If he gets off he's going to be hunted. he's a sick puppy, with his self serving apology. He didn't act sorry on the police station video. I didn't see him crying then only when he was put in the cell was he crying and sorry.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pntkl

    What's DHS? Department of Human Services? I'd hope you're not referring to HLS. If you had started out implying it was wrong, I would be more apt to think that is what you're saying. For me, what you're saying is that you can look at someone and know they're a gang member or terrorist. If they all carried guns or had suicide vests on; I could agree more with what you started out with. However, I can only agree with the fact that it was murder. So many walk without faith, it's nauseating. Some of the worst behavior can be found when a man with a gun doesn't have faith.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SMH

    This is just a classic case of a Black Man in a White America. How was it self defense if you didn't know if he was armed or not? I mean how do you follow someone after the dispatcher say not to then claim self defense? Not only that you have a run in with a police officer and daddy got them to sweep that under the rug. (oh the officer didn't identify himself and i was just helping my friend) Good old georgie the good citizen. Then he smacks a woman in the mouth but again that fell on death ears. The lawyer and daddy coached him real good. "I didn't know...." and his wife really has the nerve to say he's no threat, yeah because he'll probably beat her. Had the shoe been on the other foot black ppl would have been label ANIMALS about this poor little unarmed white teenage boy with such a bright future. All of his friends would have been on TV crying about how he was destined for success and it wouldn't have taken 52 days just to get and arrest then let him out.....Sad but touching.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jess

    What is this guy saying? Zimmerman is Latino...

    April 22, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bluejeans

    Martin's family initially said they'd be happy with an arrest. When Zimmerman was arrested, they said they were satisfied with that. Obviously they're not satisfied with that. Obviously they're only satisfied to let the justice system work this out IF it agrees with their pov. But that's okay, right? No – that's not okay. That's a lie.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. catnip88

    Whites kill whites all the time too just look at Nancy Grace. Whatever the case that doesn't give GZ the right to gun down an unarmed kid coming from the store with candy.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. catnip88

    GZ it was said had two domestic violence cases what happened to the other one was that on his present wife? Was he living with the woman he hit? his wife said she drew blood. I guess she scratched his face. His daddy hopefully can't get him out of this one. Yorhan Vandersloop's father was also a judge in the Natalie Holloway case and helped him get away with murder, then look what he did, killed another girl.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ol' JW

    And stop making EVERYTHING into a racial issue!!

    April 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    The parents should be the ones apologizing to Zimmerman for the behaviour of their son

    April 23, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. superheet

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    June 4, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bussiness register

    I like the helpful info you provide on your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and test once more here regularly. I'm quite certain I will be told lots of new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the following!

    June 6, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |

    I just finished watch the news.Ttwo things caught my attention. #1-George claims he was being held down by Trayvon at which point he managed to pull his weapon out to shoot Trayvon. #2-in another interview he claims he was on top of Trayvon holding his arms out to each side, while still holding his weapon in his hand. If this is indeed the case at what point did he pull out his weapon? If the weapon was visible as he approached and I were in trayvon place I might get aggressive too, in an attempt to potentially keep from being shot. Am I the only one who sees the discrepancy?

    June 21, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
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