“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son,” Zimmerman said. “I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not.”
De La Rionda, sounding a little surprised, was allowed to question Zimmerman a few moments later.
“And I’m sorry, sir. You’re not really addressing that to the court. You’re doing it here to the victim’s family, is that correct?” the prosecutor said.
“They are here in the court, yes,” Zimmerman said.
“I understand, but I thought you were going to address your honor, Judge Lester, not — ” He paused. “So that’s really addressed to the family and where the media happens to be. Is that correct, Mr. Zimmerman?”
“No, to the mother and the father,” Zimmerman said.
Far from comforting Martin’s parents, who were seated in the courtroom, the awkward moment seemed to rattle Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. After the hearing was over, their attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the family didn’t believe the apology was sincere.
“All throughout the hearing, Tracy Martin had tears in his eyes as he watched the killer of his son,” Crump said outside the court. “And it was devastating that he got to give a self serving apology to help him get a bond. They were outraged about that.”
But whether it was sincere or not, it didn’t stop the judge from granting Zimmerman a $150,000 bond. Prosecutors had asked for him to be held in jail until his trial or else force him to post a $1 million bond to be set free. But the judge disagreed.
Lester ruled Zimmerman will have to submit to electronic monitoring and will be forbidden from drinking alcohol or having contact with any firearms, but he will be a free man.
Zimmerman’s attorney said afterward that he expects his client to post the bond in a matter of days.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him: nick [at] talkingpointsmemo.com