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Neighbourhood watch man says teen killing was 'God's plan'

THE neighbourhood watch volunteer charged with killing a black teenager in the US has said he wanted to apologise to the boy's parents for fatally shooting their son.

But George Zimmerman said he was not pursuing Trayvon Martin on the rainy night they confronted one another.

When asked what he would tell the teen's parents, he said "I'm sorry," and that he would be open to talking to them about what happened the night of the shooting.

"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."

The teenager's father, Tracy Martin, later rejected a comment Zimmerman made about the events of that night being part of "God's plan".

"We must worship a different God.

"There is no way that my God wanted George Zimmerman to murder my teenage son," Tracy Martin said.

Zimmerman (28) is charged with second-degree murder after the death of the 17-year-old Martin, an African-American who was unarmed when he was killed in Sanford, Florida, about 20 miles north of Orlando, on February 26.

The shooting sparked nationwide protests after Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother Hispanic, was not arrested for weeks after the shooting.

Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him.

He has pleaded not guilty and is claiming self-defence under Florida's "stand your ground" law. Zimmerman is free on $1m (e813,894) bail.



undisclosed

The interview with Hannity was conducted at an undisclosed location in Seminole County, where Zimmerman must remain under conditions of his release on bail.

Zimmerman was accompanied by attorney Mark O'Mara, who remained mostly silent except to say his client would not comment on sex abuse allegations levelled by an unidentified female relative of Zimmerman.

When asked 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-defence claim.

hnews@herald.ie