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Neighborhood watch shooter released from Fla. jail

George Zimmerman, left, walks out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility with an unidentified man on Sunday, April 22, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman posted bail on a $150,000 bond on a second degree murder charge in the February shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin In Sanford, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

George Zimmerman, left, walks out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility with an unidentified man on Sunday, April 22, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman posted bail on a $150,000 bond on a second degree murder charge in the February shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin In Sanford, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

MIAMI (AP) — In a low-key event, George Zimmerman was released from a Florida jail on $150,000 bail as he awaits his second-degree murder trial in the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

The neighborhood watch volunteer was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans and carrying a paper bag as he walked out of the jail around midnight Sunday. He 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.

No questions were shouted at Zimmerman from members of the news media at the scene, and he gave no statement.

His ultimate destination is being kept secret for his safety and it could be outside Florida.

As with the July 2011 release of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman acquitted of murder in the death of her young daughter, Zimmerman was released around midnight. But the similarities end there. Anthony was quickly whisked away by deputy sheriffs armed with rifles as angry protesters jeered her. While news helicopters briefly tracked her SUV through Orlando before she slipped from public view, there was no such pursuit of Zimmerman, who will have to return for trial.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said at a hearing Friday that Zimmerman cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. Zimmerman also surrendered his passport.

Zimmerman had to put up 10 percent, or $15,000, to make bail. His father had indicated he might take out a second mortgage.

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. It is unclear how much has been raised.

Bail is not unheard of in second-degree murder cases, and legal experts had predicted it would be granted for Zimmerman because of his ties to the community, because he turned himself in after he was charged last week, and because he has never been convicted of a serious crime.

Prosecutors had asked for $1 million bail, citing two previous scrapes Zimmerman had with the law, neither of which resulted in charges. In 2005, he 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, a girlfriend accused him of attacking her.

Speaking Monday on "CBS This Morning," Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said Zimmerman would not have apologized to the Martin family during Friday's bond hearing if O'Mara had known the family felt it was the wrong time.

Zimmerman's bond hearing Friday took a surprising turn when he took the witness stand and apologized to the slain teen's family for the loss of their son. But an attorney for Martin's family spurned the apology.

O'Mara told the network Monday that if he'd known the family felt the timing of the apology was wrong, it wouldn't have happened. O'Mara said Zimmerman simply wanted to reach out to the family.

Zimmerman, 28, fatally shot Martin, 17, during an altercation on Feb. 26 inside the gated community where Zimmerman lived. Martin was unarmed and was walking back to the home of his father's fiancée when Zimmerman saw him, called 911 and began following him. A fight broke out — investigators say it is unknown who started it.

Zimmerman says Martin, who was visiting from Miami, attacked him. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives broad legal protection to anyone who says they used deadly force because they feared death or great bodily harm.

Zimmerman was not charged for over six weeks, sparking national protests led by Martin's parents, civil rights groups and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is from Peru.

Earlier Sunday, Zimmerman's attorney was working to secure the money for bail and a safe place for Zimmerman to stay. But residents in Sanford, where Martin was killed, didn't expect a ruckus once Zimmerman was released.

City commissioners said they hadn't received calls from nervous residents. Protesters didn't show up outside the jail. And talk at one local coffee shop seldom focused on the case.

"It's just kind of a non-issue now," said Michele Church, a server at Mel's Family Diner. "That's pretty much all anybody in Sanford wanted, was an arrest, so it could be sorted out in the court system."

On Friday, a Florida judge agreed to let Zimmerman out on $150,000 bail. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has said there are several options for where Zimmerman should go, but would not disclose any of them. Lester on Friday indicated Zimmerman would be allowed to leave the state if arrangements with law enforcement could be made for him to be monitored.

He was fitted with an electronic device when he was released Sunday, according to a statement from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

About a half-dozen photographers and cameramen camped outside the Sanford jail Sunday, focused on the door marked "Bonds Rooms," where other people who had been arrested and released on bail exited. Zimmerman had entered the jail about a week earlier after more than a month of nationwide protests calling for his arrest.

"The mood in Sanford has calmed down tremendously," said Sanford Commissioner Patty Mahany, whose district includes the neighborhood where Martin was killed. "I think now that people are able to see the justice system taking place, even though they understand it's going to be quite slow, people are willing to just remain calm and really we're all getting back to our daily routines."

A spokeswoman for the Seminole County Sheriff's Office declined to release any information about whether they were increasing patrols or security.

Defense attorneys for other high-profile clients who awaited trial on bail have said Zimmerman should leave Florida and refrain from going out in public. Sanford residents say they aren't expecting to see him around the neighborhood anytime soon.

"They've already said they're going to move him to a safe place," Church said. "Everyone has calmed down. That's all anyone in Sanford wanted, an arrest."

Meanwhile, Martin's parents published a "Card of Thanks" in The Miami Herald obituary page Sunday. The note says Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin express their appreciation for all the public's support since their son's death. The notice includes a photograph of Trayvon Martin dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, similar to one he was wearing the evening he was killed.

"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.


Associated Press photographer Brian Blanco in Sanford, Fla., contributed to this report.

Comments

gwinnettresident1 2 years, 8 months ago

If Zimmerman is found innocent or guilty there will still be riots.....Its so wrong to have to play the race card in everything....OJ killed his X and got away free....She was white wonder if that helped the old fellow at trial. I know he was wearing some killer shoes when i saw him at the Atlanta Airport....

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Linda 2 years, 8 months ago

That's because it was a black on white crime...The media only cares if it is a crime against a black person and then it is a hate crime.

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kevin 2 years, 8 months ago

Correction: black on Hispanic crime. Get the heredity correct! Just like Obama has more white blood(50%) in him than black blood (47%).The rest is Arab.

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Mack711 2 years, 8 months ago

Whether his is innocent or guilty, he has been tried in the Media and found Guilty. He may never get a fair trial anywhere since the Media has already tried him. It will be very hard to find a jury to sit on this trial that can come to a resonable verdict due to the media circus. We do not know for sure what all the facts are. We should wait until the trail to hear the facts before judgement is rendered. No matter what the verdict is in a court of law, some will not be happy, no matter what.

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notamom 2 years, 8 months ago

And the AP continues to use a photo of Trayvon when he was 12 or 13. Where was the photo of Zimmerman's bloody head? Always a liberal ax to grind.

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Linda 2 years, 8 months ago

the liberal media would have us believe he was a sweet young child not a fully grown teenager.

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Jen1981 2 years, 8 months ago

fully grown teenager does not mean he was bad, what is wrong with you Linda? hope you don't have babies!

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 8 months ago

Bless your heart Jen1981, you are as bad as the media! Travon being 17 was almost a full grown adult, not a baby! According to past media reports you obviously forgot about, Travon has been expelled from school twice that we know of. At some point in the past, he was also caught in possession of quite a few pieces of jewelry that were not his. Honey, what do you consider bad? I hope you don't have so-called babies that you are making excuses for!

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Jen1981 2 years, 7 months ago

So that gave a right for killing him? ooookk...

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FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

Jen1981 - I don't see where Sthrnldy states anywhere in her comment that Zimmerman was right or wrong for killing Martin. She was merely pointing out that the media has portrayed Martin as a completely innocent young child. He was a 6' 2" teenager who had been expelled from school, he had a record of drug possession (at least according to the news reports I've read). Yet, NBC would have you think Zimmerman was nothing more than a crass racist and Martin was a perfect angel. Neither is the case, yet likely neither is the polar opposite. There are times when 17 year olds are tried as adults, and yet in this instance we're being told that he was barely out of middle school. Don't buy everything the media sells you, Jen.

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

Dear, please provide an example where I have defended Zimmerman in any post. ooookk...

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FordGalaxy 2 years, 8 months ago

NBC also "selectively edited" Zimmerman's 911 call to make him appear racist. I've been wondering since this case first made national news: Zimmerman is consistently referred to as a "white Hispanic" because he has one white parent and one Hispanic parent (Peruvian). Does this mean that we now refer to Barack Obama as a "white African American?" He has one white parent and one black parent. Or do the same rules not apply? And now I'm reading that there is a "Twitter lynch mob" saying that Zimmerman should be killed. Another tweeter said "Zimmerman released from jail someone kill the judge."[sic]

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Jen1981 2 years, 8 months ago

You all are wrong on this, we are talking about HUMANS!! does not matter if black, white, peorple, red, blue, hispanics, chineese...who cares about the color or race!!! Who is different for God? We ARE ALL THE SAME!!! Who is better for his race? Nobody, face it, this is all about a crime!!! A very sad crime, and justice and action has to be taken for all. No matter what they decide here, in front of God we ALL have to pay for our mistakes! Pffff Profilers...oh well, rednecks at the end!

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FordGalaxy 2 years, 8 months ago

Jen1981 - I'm sorry that my sarcasm was lost on you, although sarcasm does not convey well in print. If you are lumping us all together as rednecks for commenting on the racial aspect fo this story, then you must also lump CNN, ABC, NBC, FoxNews, and MSNBC in with us. I agree with you that skin color should have nothing to do with it, but without a racial component Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be out of a job.

And just what is the crime? Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder through a method that other prosecutors in the media have said isn't very strong. His story was that he was defending himself after Martin attacked him. An eyewitness corroborates Zimmerman's details. ABC was finally "forced" to reveal pictures of a bloodied Zimmerman. NBC was finally forced to apologize for twisting Zimmerman's words to make him look racist. Sadly we'll likely never know all of the details of the case. That in no way justifies people calling for the killing of the judge, nor does it justify the New Black Panthers for putting out a bounty on Zimmerman, or proclaiming him guilty according to the "street peoples" law.

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Mack711 2 years, 8 months ago

You make some very good points in you remarks. The question that needs to be asked, and answered, is concerning your last sentence. Is it not a crime to threaten a judge or for the Black Panthers to put a bounty on anyone. What has happende to these groups?

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 8 months ago

Bless your heart, rednecks are HUMANS too. Look who is profiling who. I will be polite Jen1981 and not profile you as an idiot ---- OOPS! :)

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Jen1981 2 years, 7 months ago

oops another redneck talking ;)

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

LMAO, is calling me a redneck the best you can come up with? ;)

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Jen1981 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't have to put myself down to your level...redneck is enough...

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FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

Solid comeback, Jen. Make a blanket statement about those you disagree with, and then when one of them comes back with a retort, just say "I don't have to put myself down to your level..." even though you already did.

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news2me 2 years, 7 months ago

From the trail of posts it looks like you threw out the race card first. Actually it was Sthrnldy who put herself down to your level.

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RiggaTony 2 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, but when you put on the uniform of a THUG (hoodie), you are going to get treated like a THUG. This man is a true American and is being railroaded by the PC police. Our constitution says we have to assume this man is innocent until he has been proven guilty, even when discussing the issue outside of a courtroom.

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FordGalaxy 2 years, 8 months ago

RiggaTony - I wear hoodies a lot during the fall and winter, especially when working outside or going to sporting events. Does that make me a THUG?

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RiggaTony 2 years, 8 months ago

No, but it means that you might dress like one, depending on how old you are and what you look like.

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YeahRight 2 years, 7 months ago

You sir are an Idiot. So what does a thug look like? Let me guess. Black with a Hoodie?

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RiggaTony 2 years, 7 months ago

That's a pretty good start. Stereotypes exist for a reason.

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news2me 2 years, 7 months ago

If I am walking around at night, wearing a hoodie, could you tell what my race is?

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FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

Your scenario assumes that the hoodie-wearer always as their back to the viewer. Zimmerman's police call stated that Martin was wandering around the neighborhood and looking around. There is a very good possibility that Zimmerman would've seen his face. NBC and MSNBC have already tried to make Zimmerman look like a racist. It didn't stick.

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news2me 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree and my point is that Zimmerman was profiling a criminal not a young black man. Martin was walking around a neighborhood at night wearing something that could be used to conceal his identity, which is something many criminals do. Bad decisions by both parties cost a young adult his life.

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news2me 2 years, 7 months ago

I hate to say this but at a quick glace the large photo provided here of a much younger Travon Martin looks like he is in a police station smiling for a mug shot photo. I really think this photo has done more harm than good and that the media campaign has backfired.

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