The neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in central Florida, could soon be released from custody after a judge set a $150,000 bond that will let him get out of jail while he awaits trial.
George Zimmerman apologized in court Friday to Martin's family for shooting the 17-year-old boy in a confrontation that has riveted the nation and sparked intense discussions about race and gun control.
"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son," Zimmerman said in an unusual appeal directly to Martin's family before he testified in the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford. "I thought he was a little bit younger than I was, and I did not know if he was armed or not."
Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said after the hearing that his client was responding to an interview in which Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, said she wanted to hear from the man who shot her son.
"He didn't want to defend himself, he didn't want to discuss the facts of the case. He heard the request of the family, and he wanted to respond to it," O'Mara said, adding that an attempt to apologize to the family in private was rebuffed.
Attorneys for Martin's family, however, called the apology a self-serving act by a man facing a life prison sentence if convicted of the second-degree murder charge against him.
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