The former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, was released early on Monday from a Florida county jail on $150,000 bail.
He wore a brown jacket, jeans and carrying a brown paper bag, Zimmerman walked out of the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, Florida, moments after midnight after posting bail and meeting other conditions set for his release at a hearing on Friday.
Zimmerman was met by another man and quickly climbed into a late-model white BMW that drove off. He made no comments to a handful of reporters gathered outside the jail.
Under conditions set by Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., Zimmerman must wear an electronic monitoring device and he may be allowed to leave the state. He also must observe a dusk-to-dawn curfew and is prohibited from consuming illegal drugs or alcohol or possessing a firearm.
Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Martin’s parents, said the family was “praying and trying to trust” in the judicial process that allowed Zimmerman to be released from jail but hoped that he would not remain free for long.
“However, they hope that his freedom is temporary because the pain he has caused their family is permanent. They’re never going to get Trayvon back.”
Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara, appearing in on CBS’s “This Morning” program, said there had been no recent threats against his client but his whereabouts still are expected to remain secret until his next appearance in court.
Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in a gated community in Sanford in central Florida on February 26 in an incident that prompted civil rights protests and a national debate over guns, self-defense laws and race in America.
No date has been set for Zimmerman’s trial, but court documents released on Monday said he had been ordered to appear before Judge Lester for his arraignment on the murder charge in court in Sanford at 1:30 p.m. on May 8.