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. pj3386

    @ Leah: If he had stayed in his vehicle and let the cops handle the situation after calling 911, there never would have been an alleged "scuffle". And a 17 year old kid would still be alive.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Seyedibar

      According to the other watch captain, their 911 training requires the watchman to keep eyesight of the suspect at all times while on phone with the dispatcher. So leaving his car is quite possibly protocol.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • moragami

      Yes, and let's not forget that Trayvon was committing no crime at all. So calling 911 in and of itself was already excessive. Certainly not excessive for Mr Zimmerman who called the cops on a very regular basis. He was and is a hindrance to society and for that reason alone, I very much doubt his innocence.

      And can we please stop calling an aparment complex with an el;ectric gate a "gated community", we're not talking Tiger Wood's estate here.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • sayso

      That is a pretty dumb way of looking at it, but, ok how about considering this as well. If Trevon would not have stold jewery at school he would not have been suspended and would still be alive, or if he had not attacked Zimmerman and tried to kill him then he would still be alive. Truth is, this was not a good kid. One thing you never do is attack someone you don;t know. You never know what they will give back.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alexia

    Daddy needs to quit being an enabler. Z is a big boy. If he is innocent then it will be proven in court.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • petemg

      Alexia, I have been saying this from the beginning.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. angel611

    Anger management classes?

    April 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. pj3386

    Awww....poor white people. They have it so hard.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Yes, we have to work for our money.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      @Sagebrush shorty...and so do most other American people no matter what race!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Josh walt

    he isnt guilty and it should be manslaughter not 2nd degree murder

    April 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. olepi

    Called 911 over 45 times. Assaulted a police officer. Anger management classes.


    April 20, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • sayso

      How amny of thise 45 people did he shoot? HMMM...

      April 20, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Perry Mason For the Defense

    Innocent free Zimmerman now, and arrest Sharpton, Spike Lee, Jessee jackson and the Black Panthers on a variety of charges.

    This inncofent latino has suffered enough atthe hands of racists....

    April 20, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. petemg

    If this were true, why didn't the police have a picture taken after the crime. Seems as if Daddy has a lot of pull. if he were a fair judge before his retirement he would have called for a picture. Just because he was a judge doesn't mean all he tells is fact. Did his son have a problem because Daddy had problem with Blacks. And yes, quit calling yourself white just to justify what happened. A person needs to be proud of whatever color they are.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They do have pictures. Not everything is released right off the bat. You don't know much do you?

      April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Seyedibar

      the police did take a photo. It was released today and shows copious blood from his headwounds.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      The picture is from a neighbor, not the police. And it looked like a cut that you could just wipe the blood off. You saw the video from the station a half hour later? You can hardly see the cut. Not at all life threatening. Not like his brother said, oh, one more time and he would have been in diapers for life. Give me a break. Repeated "bashing" would have required medical assistance.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. itsallgoodnroanoke

    Mistake #1 He followed this kid. #2 He got out the car and with a gun and approached this kid. #3 He did not follow the police orders, Hell yea, He was after this boy.He killed this kid. I bet you anything! He wished he had not touched this child, I want the killer to go to jail!

    April 20, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • RIC

      what ever happened to excuse me why are you following me .no. assault first you know the rest of the story

      April 21, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Josh walt

    any body want to support the little girl that was killed by a black/mexican guy convicted of FIRST degree murder. we need more people there is only 3 people help us

    April 20, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. Andrea Phillips

    The issue should not be about black or white it should be about right. Some of you need to have enough intelligence about yourself to realize this. Some of you are so filled with hatred you don't even know wrong from right, there is bad in all races!!!

    April 20, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Badboy

    Trayvon got caught casing the place and got pi$$ed off at some guy questioning/following him. Zimmerman "stood his ground" and was attacked. He will not be found guilty unless his lawyer is dumb enough to allow all black jurors (like OJ had) If his lawyer stacks the jury with hispanics, especially those who have had run-ins with blacks he will be not guilty. All the idiots out there better take heed: somebody may just go George Zimmerman on your a$$ next/ that is the good thing about stand your ground laws, never know when some guy may be packin and ready to pop one in you black/white/brown/yellow red ass

    April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      @ Badboy...you sound like you are a criminal...if you are not...you sound like you want to be. Going Zimmerman is not healthy for people. I hope all of you little cowards who are thinking of coining the phrase understand that. And going Zimmerman in this day and age is dangerous for anyone who thinks senseless murders like this one will be tolerated! Just a little education for your ignorant behind!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. IndeePendant

    This guy and his family look so hoax. He committed a crime and now the whole family is deperate to justify. A bunch of 'white' lies!

    April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      Don't you just hate it when His panics tell white lies

      April 20, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • SR8CReliant

      White, huh? Zimmerman is as white as Obama is white. If a black had killed a hispanic in a similar situation, would it be all over the news? You so-called African Americans make me want to puke with your one-sided logic.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      he's hispanic you dbag. and trayvon was the one who committed a crime when he assaulted zimmerman. thank god he's no longer alive, walking the streets stealing and assaulting people.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeanette

      I think that what is going on the us today is totally against what Martin Luther king wanted. Racial problems are by far worse than they have ever been. The black community feels that we owe them. So many people are afraid of black kids because of all the crime they have done. Look at our prisons they are 2/3 black and that is a fact.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. PJ

    His wounds (if indeed he had any) pale compared with the lethal bullet the kid received. I hope they deny bail. He is a dangerous cop wannabe.

    April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • poppy

      I suppose you should wait until you are beaten un conscious before you shoot....lol

      April 20, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Albro

      So, PJ, perhaps you could enumerate the exact number and severity of wounds one must receive before he's allowed to defend himself. And, naturally there'd be one answer for POE's (Persons of Oppressed Ethnicity) and quite another for everybody else.. Or, lets get specific and ask how many wounds YOU would receive with meek acceptance before defending YOURSELF.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Absntmind

      Yes, he had wounds. New photos have been released which seem to backup Zimmermans story. Everything comes down to two things. Who broke the law, and could Zimmerman have felt threatened enough to use deadly force. If TM threw the first punch and assulted Z, the TM broke the law and Z was defending himself. Remeber, following someone doesn't give them the right to assult you and it is not against the law. As for the second, based on the newly released photos I believe he could have felt his life was in danger. If Z can get a fair trial I see him getting off based on the evidence released.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. Victor Hayes

    Is this a bond reduction or an episode of law and order?

    April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • RIC

      this episode is he shoul of called a taxi not his girlfriend

      April 21, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
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