The Lookout

George Zimmerman apologizes to Trayvon Martin’s family, could be released from jail soon

The Lookout

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

George Zimmerman will be allowed to go free on bail after a dramatic two-hour hearing in which he took the stand and apologized for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old.

"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son," a stoic Zimmerman said in his first public statements about the death. "I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not."

After the hearing, attorneys for Martin's parents said the apology was disingenuous, the Associated Press reported.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester ordered Zimmerman to remain in jail for at least another day, but he could be released while awaiting trial if his family posts a $150,000 bail. Prosecutors who charged the now-infamous neighborhood watchman with second-degree murder lost their argument that he not be freed or that the bail be set at $1 million.

Zimmerman's attorney said after the hearing that it could take the suspect's family more than a day to come up with the funds. But once released, Zimmerman may be allowed to leave Florida if electronic monitoring can be established with officers responsible for tracking his whereabouts. His attorney argued that Zimmerman's location needs to remain a secret due to threats against him.

Other conditions of his release include no contact with Martin's family and no possessing a firearm.

The gunman's parents, who testified by phone because they fear for their safety, told the court their son would not be a flight risk or 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," his father, Robert Zimmerman, told defense attorney Mark O'Mara.

But that's not the Zimmerman being portrayed by Florida prosecutors. They allege the 28-year-old volunteer watchman with a license to carry a gun disobeyed a 911 operator and continued to trail the black teen through his gated Sanford, Fla., neighborhood. Zimmerman, who told police he thought Martin looked suspicious, says he was attacked and shot the teen in self-defense.

Robert Zimmerman testified he saw his son's wounds the day after the Feb. 26 altercation and shooting.

"His face was swollen quite a bit," his father said. "He had a protective cover over his nose. His lip was swollen and cut. And there were two vertical gashes on the back of his head."

Zimmerman was not arrested for 44 days, sparking an uproar about racial profiling and justice in the United States.

In court on Friday, Zimmerman wore a charcoal suit, white shirt and gray tie. He was shackled and may have had on a bulletproof vest, according to the Associated Press. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

O'Mara, his defense attorney, used part of the hearing to try to pick apart the prosecution's probable cause argument for arresting Zimmerman. He repeatedly quizzed state investigator Dale Gilbreath on who may have thrown the first punch.

"Do you have any evidence that supports who may have started the fight?" O'Mara asked.

"No," Gilbreath said.

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