AFP – A Florida judge set $150,000 bond for the pre-trial release of the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin after he took to the stand Friday and apologized to the victim’s parents.
“I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit older than I was. I did not know if he was armed or not,” George Zimmerman, who has admitted the shooting, told a bond hearing.
Martin’s parents were in the courtroom in Sanford, Florida when Zimmerman made the apology for the shooting death of their 17-year-old son on February 26 as he walked through a gated community.
Dressed in a gray suit and tie, Zimmerman had listened quietly through most of the proceedings as lawyers argued for and against his release on bond.
Judge Kenneth Lester then set bond at $150,000 but imposed certain conditions on Zimmerman’s release, including that he submit to electronic GPS tracking, a curfew and to periodically report to authorities.
The prosecution had argued that Zimmerman should be held without bond, or no less than a million dollar bond, until trial on charges of second degree murder for Martin’s shooting death February 26.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, trailed the 17-year-old, who was unarmed, as he crossed a gated community after buying a packet of Skittles at a nearby convenience store.
Zimmerman, who contends he shot Martin in self defense, escaped arrest for weeks after local police initially decided against pressing charges, setting off a storm of protests from the black community.
Zimmerman was charged last week after a special prosecutor’s investigation.