George Zimmerman tells Trayvon's Martin's parents 'I am sorry'

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by ABC News

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 20 at 4:45 PM

(ABC NEWS) -- George Zimmerman surprised a Florida court Friday by taking the stand and apologizing to the parents of Trayvon Martin, who were sitting in the courtroom during Zimmerman's bond hearing.

"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," Zimmerman said addressing Martin's family directly.

Zimmerman took the stand wearing a dark suit with his hands shackled to a belt around his waist.

The bond hearing concluded Friday morning with Judge Kenneth Lester agreeing to allow Zimmerman, who is charged with second degree murder, to post a $150,000 bond to get out of jail. The prosecution had argued that Zimmerman should be denied bail or that it should be set at $1 million.

Zimmerman, 28, is being held on charges of second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin, 17, which could carry a life sentence if he is convicted.

Zimmerman told police that night that he shot and killed the teenager in self-defense after Martin punched him and pounced on him. Zimmerman told police that Martin then bashed his head into the concrete sidewalk during the altercation that took place in the tidy middle-class development of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla.

Zimmerman was treated at the scene by paramedics, then cuffed and driven in a police cruiser to the Sanford police station. He was questioned for hours and later released. In police surveillance video obtained last month by ABC News, Zimmerman's wounds are not apparent, and there were no bandages on his head.

Zimmerman was not admitted to a hospital or given stitches the night of the incident.
Investigators have seen a photo of George Zimmerman's bloody head.

The person who took the photograph of a bloodied Zimmerman, asking not to be identified, told ABC News exclusively that they did not see the scuffle that night, but did hear it. The person recalled seeing Martin's prostrate body on the wet grass and said the gunpowder burns on Martin's gray hoodie were clearly visible.

The photographer said that after the shooting, Zimmerman asked the photographer to call his wife. When the photographer asked him what to say, Zimmerman blurted out, "Man, just tell her I shot someone."

Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump is skeptical.

"How bad could it have been if they didn't take him to the hospital [and] didn't stitch him up," he said in a statement to ABC News in response to the image. "The special prosecutor has seen all the evidence and still believes George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin."

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said his client has spent enough time behind bars.

"He needs to get out. He should not be in jail," O'Mara said. "I want him out because I need him out. He wants to get out. His family wants it out. It should happen."

If Zimmerman is released, his attorney said, he has a number of potential safe houses prepared. In the meantime O'Mara says the former altar boy, who has become America's highest-profile defendant, has been reading the Bible while in protective custody.

In a bail hearing in Florida, the burden of proof to deny bail, even in a second-degree murder trial, is higher than needed to seek a conviction in a trial.

"They would have to prove that the presumption of guilt is great, and that the proof is evident," O'Mara said.

In the capias, similar to a warrant, filed against Zimmerman last week, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey and her team set bail at "none."

In order to avoid a reduction in bail to a set monetary sum, Corey's team would have to prove its case essentially, something legal experts say is unlikely at this point in the legal process.

Zimmerman attorney O'Mara said he doubts the prosecutor will reveal its case before the trial.

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