George Zimmerman: I didn’t know stand your ground law

George Zimmerman at a bond hearing last month. Photo credit: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel

In an exclusive interview with Sean Hannity, George Zimmerman said he didn’t know of stand your ground law before shooting Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in Martin’s death, gave the unusual interview — his first – to the Fox News Channel host.

The 17-year-old’s death set off an international furor and ignited discussions about racial profiling and stand your ground laws.

Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, said he thought the stand your ground law was applicable in the Martin shooting. “Now that we have a lot of evidence considering what is self-defense, I think it’s a proper presentation to go to a jury,” O’Mara said.

Zimmerman called the attention “surreal” and complained that the media had rushed to judge him. Zimmerman, who said he considers himself Hispanic, thanked Hannity for not rushing to judgment.

“I’m not a racist, and I’m not a murderer,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman also said he didn’t regret getting out of his car to follow the teen or carrying a gun that night. 

Zimmerman said he was sorry to Martin’s parents. “I am sorry that they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily,” he said.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, detailed his fatal encounter with Martin, who was visiting Sanford from South Florida. Zimmerman said he saw the teen cutting between buildings and walking leisurely while it rained. Zimmerman said several times that he was not following Martin.

Zimmerman said he started yelling for help after Martin punched him and broke his nose. Martin punched him more than a dozen times and cursed him, Zimmerman said.

The interview gave Zimmerman a chance to rebut a rumor: He said Hannity never offered to pay for his legal bills.

Zimmerman also said he was receiving nothing for the interview from Hannity. It was taped earlier Wednesday at an undisclosed location in Seminole County.

Zimmerman gave short, concise answers. The interview ran the entire hour. 

O’Mara interrupted when Hannity asked donations from the public. O’Mara cited Shellie Zimmerman, George’s wife who is charged with perjury about donations the couple received from the public.

O’Mara said a cousin’s allegations that George molested her would be “a non-issue” at trial.