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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Zimmerman Bail Set at $150K

SANFORD, Fla. (CN) - George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, may be released from jail on $150,000 bond, a judge ruled Friday.

In a hearing that lasted more than two hours, Seminole Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set certain conditions before approving the bond. Zimmerman must wear a GPS monitor; he must report his location every three days, he may not consume alcohol; and he must adhere to a strict curfew. He also may not have fire arms or contact Martin's family or any witnesses.

Zimmerman will not be released today and his location must be secret.

Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked if his client could leave the state, but Lester said that would have to be arranged with law enforcement.

Zimmerman addressed Martin's parents from the stand Friday, although the family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, had rejected Zimmerman's request to do so, saying it was not the time.

"I'm sorry for the loss of your son," said Zimmerman, wearing a suit and shackles. "I did not know he was 17. I thought he was a little bit younger than me, and I didn't know if he was armed or not."

Zimmerman, 28, shot Martin on Feb. 26 as the boy walked home from a convenience store holding just a bag of candy and a drink. Before the altercation, Zimmerman had called 911 to report Martin as suspicious.

"George wanted to apologize to Trayvon's family," O'Mara said.

Assistant prosecutor Bernardo De La Rionda said Zimmerman had to address the judge and not the family.

Crump blasted the defendant's after the hearing.

"Zimmerman makes this self-serving apology in court 50 days later," Crump said. "Why not make the statement on his website or in his original statements to the police if he was sincere. [The parents] were very outraged at that. They felt like, 'why is everyone protecting George Zimmerman?' This is the time most parents would be helping their children plan prom. They don't get to do that. They had to find a suit to bury their son. Zimmerman's parents get to put up $15,000 to be with their son. It was very painful watching the parents weep."

Zimmerman's family vouched for the defendant's character in phone calls with attorneys Friday. His father, mother and wife said he was not violent, and not a flight risk.

Zimmerman's father said he would take out a second mortgage on his home to post the bond.

Early decisions by police not to charge Zimmerman after the shooting sparked nationwide outcry and calls for justice. He arrested after 44 days of freedom.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey announced early this month that she no longer needed a grand jury trial that was supposed to be held on April 10.

Zimmerman turned himself over to officers in Jacksonville after he was charged with second-degree murder April 11.

Judge Jessica Recksiedler was recused from the case earlier this week because of a conflict of interest. Her husband reportedly works for the same law firm as attorney Mark NeJame, who is a CNN commentator for the case.

Zimmerman's official arraignment is set for May 29.

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