Trayvon Martin's parents saw their son's killer face-to-face for the first time in court on Friday, where George Zimmerman took the stand to say he was "sorry for the loss of your son." A judge set bail at $150,000. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.
A Florida judge set bail Friday at $150,000 for the release of George Zimmerman, who apologized on the stand to Trayvon Martin’s parents for the loss of their child.
“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman, who was wearing a suit and had chains that wrapped around his waist and connected to handcuffs, said that at the time of the shooting he did not know how old Martin was or whether he was armed. He also said he previously had asked police and his attorneys to tell Martin’s family that he was sorry.
His comments were the most robust to date about the incident, which set off a wave of protests and an examination of race relations in the country. Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin, who was black.
Following the hearing, Natalie Jackson, an attorney for the Martin family, said Zimmerman's apology was "insulting to the family."
"This is the most unmeaningful apology we've ever seen in our entire lives," Jackson said, according to an Orlando Sentinel reporter.
Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. said Zimmerman would not be released immediately and that he would be monitored electronically via GPS. The terms of the bond include a curfew and no alcohol or guns. Also, Zimmerman must be in touch with authorities every three days. The judge wouldn’t rule on whether Zimmerman would be allowed to leave the state.
Zimmerman’s attorney had asked for a $15,000 bond, citing his client’s family’s modest financial holdings. The prosecution said Zimmerman should not be granted a bond, but if he is, it should be for $1 million.
Speaking publicly for the first time since her husband shot the unarmed teenager in February, Zimmerman’s wife of almost five years, Shellie Nicole Zimmerman, said her husband poses no danger to the community.
“Absolutely he is not a violent person,” Shellie Zimmerman said. She spoke to the court by phone because she said she has received hate mail and is concerned for her safety. She did not report the mail to the police, she admitted upon cross-examination by Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda.
Zimmerman, who is a nursing student four weeks shy of graduation, said she would “absolutely” ensure that her husband would be present in court for his trial if he were to be released on bail. She added that her husband has been living in hiding since the shooting.
NBC's chief legal correspondent Savannah Guthrie hypothesizes Zimmerman's attorneys may be speaking to a larger audience, including potential jurors who could be watching, in arranging for George Zimmerman to speak in court on Friday.
She was among a handful of witnesses testifying at the hearing, including Zimmerman’s mother and father and an investigator for the state attorney’s office, who was one of the signatories of the probable-cause affidavit that accused Zimmerman of “profiling” Martin.
Dale Gilbreath, the investigator, said he couldn't remember who came up with the use of the word "profiling" in the document.
Gilbreath added that Zimmerman had two lacerations on his head, which could have been caused by impact with cement.
Zimmerman claims self-defense in the shooting. ABC News says it has obtained an exclusive photo of the back of Zimmerman's head, which appears bloody and may help substantiate his claims.
Zimmerman’s father, Robert, echoed his daughter-in-law’s testimony, saying his son is “absolutely not violent.”
“I’ve never known him to be violent at all unless he was provoked, and then he would turn the other cheek,” Robert told the court. “He’s been honest his whole life.”
The defendant’s father, a former court magistrate, added his son has always been interested in criminal justice.
George Zimmerman, who has been charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, takes the stand at his own bond hearing at the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman tells Martin's parents he's "sorry for the loss" of their son.
Zimmerman’s mother’s testimony painted the portrait of a man concerned with the community he lived in, who was “protective” of people and children. Gladys Zimmerman testified that the Sanford mayor had recognized her son for his efforts in mobilizing the community in the case of a homeless man who had been beaten. She also added that her son mentored two African-American children in Orlando and visited them often despite her objection that they lived in a “dangerous” area.
On Thursday night, Zimmerman reached out to ask to speak to Martin’s parents, but they rejected that request, another attorney for the family, Benjamin Crump, told NBC Miami.
The family did not want to talk with Zimmerman because they felt he had never publicly apologized for what happened to their son and they thought it was inappropriate to do so at the 11th hour before his bond hearing, according to Crump.
NBC Miami and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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