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Judge Kenneth Lester set bail for Trayvon Martin's shooter at $150,000.
A Florida court has decided to grant bail for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was charged with second-degree murder over the death of Trayvon Martin, ABC News reports. Judge Kenneth Lester said Zimmerman can get out of jail by posting a $150,000 bond.
The prosecution had asked for bail to be set at $1 million or denied altogether, according to ABC News.
The bond hearing today was the first time that Zimmerman, 28, came face to face with the 17-year-old's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, who believe their son "was murdered in cold blood" and was the victim of racial profiling, according to CBS News. He surprised the court by taking the stand and speaking directly to Martin's family, ABC News reports.
"I'm sorry for the loss of your son," he said, according to ABC News. "I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I was."
Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, maintains he was acting in self-defense when he shot Martin while patrolling a gated Florida community, CNN explains.
The judge said he would not release Zimmerman today, since the terms of the release still needed to be worked out, CBS News reports.
USA Today says that Zimmerman's Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has asked that Zimmerman be allowed to leave the Florida area if he is granted bond, because of concerns about his safety.
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Zimmerman has spent nine days in the Seminole County jail since his arrest, which came six weeks after he shot and killed Martin, sparking nationwide protests.
Previously, legal experts told the Christian Science Monitor that Zimmerman stood a "good chance" of being granted bail at today's hearing.
They noted he has ties to the local community, has never been convicted of a crime and doesn't appear to be a flight risk because he turned himself in after the second-degree murder charges were filed against him last week.
The bail hearing was the first involvement in the case of a new judge, Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr., who took over after the previous judge recused herself from the case citing a potential conflict of interest, BBC reports.
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