“It was an emotional day and the family was disheartened,” said Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for the family, in an interview with BET.com. It was the first time Trayvon Martin’s parents were in the same room with the man who killed their son, Crump said.
“The family wants a conviction," he said. "And they would rather that he would not be out of jail.”
Crump’s statement came after a Florida judge ruled that Zimmerman can be released on $150,000 bail during the time he is awaiting trial. Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, were in the courthouse of the hearing along with Crump.
“They felt the apology was insincere,” Crump said. “They felt that the apology had a lot of self-serving motives. We think it was to curry favor with the court. It was offensive to the family.”
Crump added, “Zimmerman had 50 days to apologize, but he waited until the hearing to apologize. He never once said he was sorry for taking the life of Trayvon Martin. He never said he felt remorse.”
It was “a very emotional day,” Crump said. “Tracy Martin is not as emotional as others in the family. But he had tears in his eyes, being a few feet from the killer of their son.”
John Burris, a renowned criminal attorney in the Oakland area, said that Zimmerman’s comments before the court might help his case.
“From a defense point of view, it was a smart thing to do,” Burris said about Zimmerman offering an apology and his statements in front of the court. “The comment that he didn’t know [Trayvon] was [not] armed, laid some groundwork for his Stand Your Ground defense.”
Zimmerman was not arrested until weeks after Trayvon was killed on Feb. 26. He said he shot the youth in self-defense. Zimmerman was not initially arrested because police in Sanford, Florida, said he invoked the controversial Florida law, which allows people to use deadly force against anyone whom they perceive as a threat.
During the hearing, Zimmerman apologized to Trayvon's parents, explaining that he didn’t realize that Trayvon Martin was unarmed; Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the unarmed teenager.
“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not 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,“ Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman was asked by prosecutors why he hadn’t offered any apology earlier, perhaps in statements to the police. Zimmerman responded, saying, “I don’t remember what I said. In one of the statements, I said I was sorry for the family.”
When asked why he had not communicated any remorse to the family of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman said, “I was told not to communicate with them.”
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(Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)