Wearing a brown jacket, jeans and carrying a brown paper bag, George Zimmerman walked out of the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County just after midnight after posting bail and meeting other conditions set for his release at a pretrial detention hearing on Friday, reports Reuters.
Zimmerman was following another man and didn’t look over at photographers gathered outside. The two then got into a white BMW car and drove away.
Last week a Seminole County Circuit Court judge set the bail and imposed a series of restrictions on Zimmerman’s release, according to The New York Times. He was not to contact the Martin family or witnesses to the shooting.
The judge, Kenneth R. Lester Jr., also set a curfew that requires Zimmerman to remain at home from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. and banned access to alcohol or firearms. The judge also stipulated that Zimmerman’s movements be monitored with an electronic bracelet.
Zimmerman had to put up 10 percent, or $15,000, to make bail, tells The Huff Post. His father had said he might take out a second mortgage.
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed on Feb. 26 while walking through the gated community where he was staying at his father’s home and where Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer.
The case roused a national uproar, including many demonstrations across the country, as weeks passed without Mr. Zimmerman’s arrest. He was taken into custody earlier this month.
Police at first decided not to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger of getting killed or suffering great bodily harm.
During Friday hearing, Zimmerman apologized to Martin’s family, stunning a rapt courtroom after he appeared in a suit and tie and with shackles around his waist and wrists.
“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son,” Zimmerman said in a soft voice. “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.”
A lawyer for the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, called the apology “self-serving” and added that he considered it a ploy designed to curry favor with the court and the public and to help secure a release from jail.
Prosecutors initially had asked for $1 million bail, citing two previous scrapes Zimmerman had with the law, neither of which resulted in charges.
In 2005, Zimmerman had to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman’s friend. In another incident, his girlfriend accused Zimmerman of attacking her.
George Zimmerman worked at a mortgage risk-management company at the time of the shooting and his wife is in nursing school. A website was set up to collect donations for Zimmerman’s defense fund. But it is unclear how much has been raised.
Martin’s parents published a “Card of Thanks” in The Miami Herald obituary page on Sunday. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin expressed their appreciation for all the public’s support since their son’s death. The notice includes a photograph of Trayvon dressed in a hooded sweatshirt.
“Words will never express how your love, support and prayers lifted our spirits and continue to give us the strength to march on,” the letter says.