Bail of $150,000 was set April 20 for George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer who is facing charges of second murder for killing an unarmed Black teenager in Sanford, Fla.
If he can post ten percent of the bail or $15,000, he can be free—but must wear an electronic tracking device–while awaiting trial for the death of Trayvon Martin, Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. ruled at a bond hearing for Zimmerman, who has been in a single occupant cell in the Seminole County jail for nine days for the Feb. 16 shooting.
The ruling came after Zimmerman, clad in a suit and tie and confined in shackles, took the witness stand and apologized to Martin’s parents. “I am sorry for the loss of your son,” he 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.”
Martin’s parents dismissed the apology as “insincere and self-serving,” their attorney, Benjamin Crump, told USA Today.
Reaction to the bail set for Zimmerman was harsh. “It shows you the worth of a 17-year-old Black boy in America, who’s been unjustly murdered and whose life is taken for granted,” said Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, an MSNBC contributor and Georgetown University professor. “And it’s predictable, but still disappointing that there would be such a low bond set if a bond was offered at all.”
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network issued a statement that “clearly … the Judge had the basis to deny bail based upon Mr. Zimmerman’s background, we will continue to stand with the family throughout their pursuit of justice.”
Lester’s actions meant that Zimmerman could be released from jail in a few days. He would have to wear an electronic monitoring device, observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, cannot have any guns, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs and surrendered his passport.
According to the New York Times, Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, said he will ask that his client be allowed to await trial outside Florida because of threats made against him and his family.
Prosecutors had asked for $1 million bail, citing two previous incidents in which Zimmerman was confronted by police, neither of which resulted in charges