When George Zimmerman, 28, briefly took the stand in a much-anticipated bail hearing Friday morning, he only had one thing on his mind:
Swaying public opinion.
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I am sorry for the loss of your son,” he said to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, parents of slain 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed when he was gunned down by Zimmerman on the night of February 26, 2012. “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.”
As if that makes a difference.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester agreed to allow Zimmerman to be released on $150,000 bail. He stipulated that he cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. Zimmerman also surrendered his passport, reports the Associated Press. Attorney Mark O’ Mara says that he expects the Zimmerman family to come up with the 10 percent — or $15,000 — required for Zimmerman to be a free man. His father, former Virginia Supreme Court magistrate Robert Zimmerman, is already prepared to take out a second mortgage on his home, according to the AP.
Because of the racial tension surrounding the case, and the alleged potential danger to Zimmerman’s person, the former neighborhood watchman may be allowed to live outside of the state of Florida. Underscoring the “threat,” reporters at the hearing claim that Zimmerman appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest beneath his suit. His parents and wife testified via phone because they also feared for their safety.
While finances are generally discussed at a bail hearing, an apology is rare event, and legal council for Trayvon’s parents, attorney Natalie Jackson, says that the self-serving words meant nothing, “This was the most disingenuous and unfair thing I’ve seen,” said Jackson. “This was the most unmeaningful apology.”
As previously reported by Newsone, O’ Mara has previously stated that his client wanted to apologize to Trayvon’s parents in private. After they refused his request yesterday, saying that “now was not the time,” he obviously felt there was no other way for his client to garner sympathy:
He had always wanted to acknowledge what happened that day,” O’Mara said. “I was hoping that it could be accomplished in a private way. We weren’t afforded that opportunity.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump made Trayvon’s parents stance clear yesterday:
We stand on legal, public safety and moral grounds to solidify our position that Zimmerman should be held without bond until these matters are concluded,” Crump said.
“Sybrina is a Christian lady and Tracy — they are good people, and there may be a time and place for that, but not now.”
It became evident today — as Zimmerman attempted to build his self-defense case in public — that bringing Trayvon’s parents comfort was not on his agenda.
When questioned by the prosecution about the sincerity of his apology and why he decided to wait until he was in front of the media to show remorse, Zimmerman claims that he told a police officer on the night that he killed Trayvon that he was sorry for the parents’ loss. Upon further questioning, he could not remember exactly to which officer he made that statement, but he confirmed that it should be in police records.
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin left the courtroom without making comment.