Judge Sets George Zimmerman Bail At $150,000

The man accused of murder over the death of an unarmed Florida teenager has been granted bail, set at $150,000 (£93,000).


The man accused of murder over the death of an unarmed Florida teenager has been granted bail, set at $150,000 (£93,000).

George Zimmerman's defence lawyer asked that his client be allowed to reside out of state because of safety fears.

In a second appearance in court since his arrest, Mr Zimmerman told Trayvon Martin's parents he was sorry for the loss of their son.

He shot and killed Trayvon Martin in a gated Florida community on 26 February.

Granting bail, the judge said Mr Zimmerman should inform the police of his location every three days and imposed a curfew between the hours of 19:00 and 06:00 each day.

Mr Zimmerman would be tracked electronically, he said, and would be forbidden from carrying firearms, drinking alcohol, or contacting the victim's family personally or through an intermediary.

Earlier, members of Mr Zimmerman's family told the judge by phone testimony that they did not have much money for bail. In setting conditions, Judge Kenneth Lester said Mr Zimmerman would not be released on Friday.

'Not a danger'

In a moment of drama inside the courtroom, a shackled George Zimmerman took the stand to make a statement directed at the parents of Trayvon Martin.

"I am sorry for the loss of your son," the suspect said, adding that he did not know how old the teenager was, and did not know that he was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Mr Zimmerman, accused of second-degree murder and facing a possible life sentence, appeared in court wearing a suit and shackled at the waist and wrists.

He sat between his lawyers during the hearing and conferred with them occasionally.

Prosecutors asked Mr Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, about a 2005 incident when Mr Zimmerman was arrested for assaulting a police officer, and an anger management course he was required to take.

Mrs Zimmerman testified that she did not believe her husband was a danger to the community, while his father, Robert, said he did not know his son to be violent unless provoked.

According to an affidavit of probable cause released by the prosecutor's office when charges were brought, Trayvon Martin was walking home from a local shop carrying a bag of sweets and a can of iced tea when he was "profiled" by Mr Zimmerman.

The document notes that Martin was unarmed but Mr Zimmerman assumed he was a criminal.

The neighbourhood watch volunteer had told a police dispatcher he thought Martin, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, looked suspicious.

The dispatcher advised Mr Zimmerman not to go after the young man. But minutes later a confrontation ensued, leading to the fatal shooting.