George Zimmerman accused in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin can be released on $150,000 bail, a judge ruled at a hearing in Florida state court in Sanford, Friday.
Zimmerman charged with second degree murder was freed on bail with conditions that he have no contact with the Martin family, submit to electronic monitoring, and check in with his monitors every three days.
He has to abide by a curfew from 7pm to 6am and will be monitored for the use of controlled substances.
Judge Kenneth Lester stated, “There is to be no contact with the victim’s family. There is to be no possession of firearms, be they rifles, shotguns, handguns, pistols, revolvers, any type of firearm or destructive device. There is to be no consumption of alcohol.”
Parents devastated at decision
At the bail hearing an apologetic Zimmerman dressed smartly in a suit but shackled around the waist and wrists told Martin’s parents, “I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I thought he was armed.”
Martin’s parents, angry at the judge’s decision to grant bail, left the court together and declined to answer queries from reporters. According to the family attorney Benjamin Crump they felt the apology rendered was belated and insincere.
Crump told reporters, “They are devastated. And it was devastating that he got to give a self-serving apology to help him get a bond. They [the parents] were very outraged at that.”
He added, "They feel it was just so self-serving, that it was one of those things that was not sincere.
"We can only guess that his motive was to get sympathy. It's 50 days later at his bond hearing, and for the first time he's saying, 'I'm sorry for killing Trayvon.'"
The high-profile incident
The unarmed teenager’s death sent shockwaves through the nation. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, spotted 17-year-old Trayvon walking through his gated community and grew suspicious of the teen, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
On calling 911, the police dispatchers advised him not to pursue Martin and that an officer would be there shortly. However, for some unknown reasons, Zimmerman got out. By the time police arrived on the scene, Martin was shot dead.
The 28-year-old claimed he acted in self-defense and had yelled for help before firing the gun. According to reports, Zimmerman told police there was a scuffle and Martin punched him in the nose, knocked him down and slammed his head into the ground repeatedly.
He was not arrested or charged with a crime as there was no evidence to dispute Zimmerman's self-defense claim. Moreover, he was also protected by the so-called "Stand Your Ground" law that allows Florida residents to shoot someone they believe is threatening them.
A special prosecutor’s investigation charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder last week and he turned himself in on April 12.
If convicted Zimmerman could face life in prison.