Trayvon Martin’s Parents Reject Zimmerman’s Apology
MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The parents of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens teen shot to death in Sanford by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, said they can’t believe his said it was part of “God’s plan” during a televised interview.
“I simply really don’t know what God George Zimmerman’s worshipping because there’s no way that the God that I serve had in his plans for George Zimmerman to murder my son,” Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
Martin and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke on “CBS This Morning” the day after Zimmerman appeared on Fox news.
Zimmerman, who is charged with second degree murder, said he shot Martin self defense. When asked if he had any regrets, Zimmerman said no.
“I feel that it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it um,” Zimmerman said.
But later he appeared to backtrack, looking directly into the camera to clarify himself.
“I do wish that there was something, anything, I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life,” Zimmerman said.
He also offered an apology to Martin’s parents.
“I have a hard time accepting it because he also said that he doesn’t regret anything that he did that night, and I don’t think God would have him in his plan to murder an innocent child,” Fulton said.
The Fox News interview with Sean Hannity was Zimmerman’s first lengthy television interview and was conducted at an undisclosed location in Seminole County where he must remain under conditions of his release on bail. State prosecutors have filed a motion to gain access to the interview.
ABC’s Barbara Walters had flown to Central Florida to interview Zimmerman on Wednesday. On Thursday, during ABC’s “The View,” she announced that Zimmerman canceled the interview when they met.
“And then said, he would not do an interview, no matter what he said, but he would if there were one condition. It was a condition that being a member of ABC News, I was unable to grant,” said Walters.
Zimmerman demanded that ABC put his wife up at a hotel for 30 days, at the network’s expense. He called Walters during her show Thursday to do a phone interview, but she turned that down.
“Mr. Zimmerman, if you could not do the interview yesterday, I don’t think we should do a quick one today,” said Walters.
Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him and has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Zimmerman is free on $1 million bail.
In his interview, Zimmerman said he would like to tell Martin’s parents he was sorry about the teen’s death.
“I can’t imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily,” Zimmerman said. Later, he added: “I am sorry that this happened.”
When asked in the Fox News interview to explain what he meant when he told a police dispatcher he was following Martin, Zimmerman said he was trying to keep an eye on Martin to tell police. He said he was not following Martin but attempting to get a more precise address for the authorities.
Whether Zimmerman was the aggressor plays a major role in his self-defense claim.
“I hadn’t given them a correct address. I was going to give them the actual address,” he said. “I meant that I was going in the same direction as him. I didn’t mean that I was actually pursuing him.”
Zimmerman said shortly after he got out of his car, Martin was right next to him. Zimmerman said he looked down to try to find his cellphone and when he looked up, Martin punched him and broke his nose. Then, he said, Martin straddled him and started slamming his head down on to the concrete.
“He said ‘You’re going to die tonight [expletive],’ and took one hand off of my mouth, and I felt it going down my chest towards my belt and my holster, and that’s when I didn’t have any more time.”
Zimmerman said he yelled out multiple times — shouts captured on 911 calls by local residents — in hopes the authorities would locate them.
“I was yelling in hopes that they were in the vicinity and they would come and find me,” he said. “As soon as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help.”
Martin’s parents have said they believe it was their son who was yelling for help.
Zimmerman also said racial profiling had nothing to do with the confrontation.
“I’m not a racist and I’m not a murderer,” he said.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)