Judge sets $150,000 bail for Trayvon Martin shooter

A judge in Florida has set bail at US$150,000 for George Zimmerman, the man who ignited a national furor after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in late February. Zimmerman, who was on duty as a neighbourhood watch volunteer at the time of the shooting, was recently charged with second-degree murder.

The judge, Kenneth Lester Jr.,  said he will impose a curfew on Zimmerman, 28, and force him to wear a monitor when he is released, the Wall Street Journalreports. Zimmerman will remain in custody until the details of his release conditions are worked out with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

During his bail hearing on Friday, Zimmerman apologized to Martin’s parents, who were present in the courtroom. “I am sorry for the loss of your son,” he said, quoted by the Wall Street Journal. “I did not know how old he was. …I did not know whether he was armed or not.”

According to his lawyer, Zimmerman will plead not guilty to the charge of second degree murder, and is expected to claim he shot Martin in self-defence under Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” law, which eliminates the duty to back down or flee in the face of danger.