Judge sets bond, George Zimmerman apologizes in court to family of Trayvon Martin (UPDATE)
UPDATE: A Florida judge has set George Zimmerman’s bond at $150,000, under the conditions of electronic monitoring with GPS, no firearms, and a check-in with officials every three days.
Zimmerman’s family members testified on his behalf this morning, including a call-in from his wife. His family said they have never know Zimmerman to be violent and do not believe him to be a threat to the community.
“I’ve never known him to be violent at all unless he was provoked, and then he would turn the other cheek,” Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman Sr., said.
George Zimmerman also took the stand and used the speaking opportunity to address the family of Trayvon Martin.
“I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was,” Zimmerman calmly stated. “I thought he was a little younger than I am, and I did not know whether he was armed or not.”
Zimmerman also said he had wanted to say this to the Martin family earlier, but he was advised not to contact them by his former legal counsel.
While Zimmerman’s bond has been set, it’s still not clear when he will be released, as his wife indicated to the court that the couple is having financial problems and have few assets.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. took over the racially charged case on Wednesday after another judge recused herself over a potential conflict of interest.
Court officials in Sanford, Florida, the seat of Seminole County where 17-year-old Martin was gunned down on February 26, have provided few details about Friday’s bond hearing. But they said it would include testimony from Zimmerman’s family, after the defense filed an unopposed motion to allow them to speak on his behalf by phone.
The Martin family declined a request from Zimmerman to meet, said the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump.
“Zimmerman’s request seems to be self-serving especially with his bond hearing (Friday),” Crump said in a statement. “We question his motives at this time.”
Friends and family of Zimmerman have reported numerous death threats against him.
Martin was shot and killed in a gated community in Sanford following a confrontation that began, according to the probable cause affidavit, after he was “profiled” by Zimmerman as a criminal.
Police released Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer at the time of the shooting, after saying they found no probable cause to arrest him based on his account of self-defense.
That ignited a firestorm of protests and intense media scrutiny — public pressure that forced the Sanford police chief and the regularly assigned prosecutor to step aside.
Zimmerman was finally arrested on April 10. He has spent the last 10 nights in a 67-square-foot cell in Seminole County’s John E. Polk Correctional Facility.