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George Zimmerman's bail set at $150,000 in Trayvon Martin case

April 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A judge said George Zimmerman can be released on $150,000 bail as he awaits trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set several conditions Friday for Zimmerman's release. He cannot have any firearms, drink alcohol or use drugs. He must observe a curfew and wear an electronic monitoring device.

The judge also said there is a possibility that Zimmerman will be allowed to go out of state due to concerns over his safety, but details need to be worked out among the attorneys and law enforcement. Lester said Zimmerman will not be released Friday.

Zimmerman, who appeared noticeably thinner, was ushered into court wearing a gray suit and tie, chains around his waist, cuffs on his wrists and shackles around his ankles. During the hearing, the 28-year-old apologized to Martin's parents, saying he didn't know the teen was unarmed.

"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed," Zimmerman said.

His statement came as the prosecution demanded that bail be set at $1 million. Prosecutors also argued that Zimmerman had prior violence on his record and would pose a danger to the community if released.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara said he is concerned about his client's safety if he is released. O'Mara wants court documents to remain sealed and Zimmerman's location be kept a secret.

Zimmerman is accused of fatally shooting Martin on Feb. 26 during a confrontation with the 17-year-old in a Sanford, Fla. neighborhood. Martin was walking home from a convenience store when Zimmerman spotted him from his truck and called police to report him as suspicious.

He has claimed self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law, which eliminates a person's duty to retreat under threat of death or serious injury. Martin, who was unarmed, was staying with his father in the gated community.

A photograph obtained by ABC News shows the bloodied back of Zimmerman's head. According to a time-date stamp on the photo, it was taken within three minutes of the 911 call. The photo may be the first public evidence to support Zimmerman's claim that Martin bashed his head on a sidewalk before Zimmerman reached for his gun.

Martin's family and supporters say the photo proves nothing and they dismissed the apology offered in court.

"This was the most disingenuous and unfair thing I've seen," said Natalie Jackson, one of the attorneys for Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. "This was the most unmeaningful apology."

Zimmerman surrendered and was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on April 11, more than six weeks after the incident.

O'Mara said if his client is released, he wants him to assist in building the defense case.

Lester is the third judge to preside over the highly publicized case. Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler disqualified herself from the case on Wednesday due to a potential conflict of interest. The next in line, Judge John D. Galluzzo, also stepped aside citing conflict of interest.

Zimmerman could face life in prison if convicted. His release is tentatively set for Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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