JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 12, 2012 -- The lawyer for George Zimmerman, charged with murder in the death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, said that the teenager's death "weighs on" Zimmerman and suggested his client might apologize to Martin's family.
"Understand that George fully well realizes that he was involved in some way in the death of another young man," lawyer Mark O'Mara told ABC News.
"He does not take the result of that altercation lightly at all. That weighed on him, I would imagine, more than the isolation, more than the last six weeks, more probably than the threat of what is to come in the system," O'Mara said.
Zimmerman spent his first night in prison in protective custody, where he could be watched at all times. Law enforcement sources told ABC News, the 28 year old "wept quite a bit" at night.
O'Mara suggested that Zimmerman may apologize to Martin's family.
"What I want to happen is for that conversation to occur directly to the family rather than ...in the media through me," O'Mara said.
When asked if he thought Zimmerman would go through with an apology, O'Mara replied, "Yeah, I imagine it would." He did not know when that might happen.
O'Mara spoke with ABC News after Zimmerman made his first appearance in a Florida court today. He spoke once during the session, answering "Yes, sir" when Judge Mark E. Herr asked whether O'Mara was his attorney.
Zimmerman wore a blue-gray jumpsuit, his hands were shackled in front of him, and he had several days of wispy growth on his face.
He did not enter a plea and his attorney did not request bond. His formal arraignment is scheduled for May 29.
O'Mara told ABC News he is preparing for a long court battle that could leave Zimmerman in jail for up to a year.
The lawyer has expressed fears for Zimmerman's safety and he said Zimmerman went to the prosecutor's office in Jacksonville Wednesday out of concern for his safety, unaware he would be arrested and charged with murder.
The office of special prosecutor Angela Corey released a two page charging affidavit today in which authorities claim that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin when he saw the teenager walking in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.
He is recorded telling a 911 dispatcher "these a..holes always get away" and "these f...ing punks," according to the affidavit.
The document states that Zimmerman disregarded the dispatcher's instructions to stop following Martin and "confronted" the teenager."
"Witnesses heard numerous calls for help and some of these were recorded in 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin's mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin's voice," the affidavit states.
Zimmerman's family, however, has claimed that the voice on the tapes sounds like Zimmerman, not Martin. Zimmerman claims that he shot Martin in self defense after the teen knocked him down and went for Zimmerman's weapon.
The suspect had a rough first night in jail, spending part of the night weeping in his cell, sources told ABC News.
Zimmerman is being held in protective custody away from the other inmates in the Sanford, Fla., city jail.
The Seminole County Sheriff's office said Zimmerman underwent a series of physical and mental health tests after arriving at the jail Wednesday night. He was then sent to protective custody where he was isolated from other inmates and under constant watch, ABC News has learned.
Jail records show that he has several tattoos including theatrical masks on his left arm and a couple of crosses.
The records also show that he bought $79.84 worth of items from the jail commissary including soaps, underwear, snacks and a couple of crossword puzzle books.
There was no sign of scarring on the back of his head and the booking photo shows no indication that his nose had been broken in his confrontation with Martin, as Zimmerman's former legal team had claimed.
O'Mara said outside of court when the hearing was completed that they had decided not to ask for bail and suggested it was at least partly out of concern for Zimmerman's safety.
"I hope to have him released on bond and by that time have a safe place for him," O'Mara said.
The charge of second degree murder rather than a lesser charge of manslaughter surprised many observers of the case.
To get a murder conviction, the state would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted dangerously to another, "evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life." Corey will have to prove specifically that Martin's death was not simply an accident or mistake, but that significant negligence was involved.
If convicted, Zimmerman faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life.
O'Mara told George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" today that the charges threw his client.
"He's troubled by it. He's very concerned about the whole process. He's stressed. Of course he's tired and was surprised with the charge," O'Mara said.
O'Mara also said he is concerned about a fair trial in Seminole County, telling Stephanopoulos, "I think if the trial was held today it would be extraordinarily difficult. We're going to have some time before now and any eventual trial date should it occur."
Special prosecutor Angela Corey, who brought the charges against Zimmerman, expressed similar concerns during her Wednesday news conference saying that the "overwhelming amount of publicity in this case" could complicate efforts to get an impartial jury. She complained that there was "so much information on this case that was released that shouldn't have been released."
Trayvon Martin's Parents Want to Hear the Truth
Zimmerman's family seemed relieved Zimmerman is now in custody. His brother Robert Zimmerman told CNN's Piers Morgan Wednesday night, "The only silver lining in all of this is that my brother is safe. For our family that's the only rest that we'll get tonight when we lay our heads down to sleep is that we'll know that our brother is safe."
Martin's parents talked about the arrest today on "GMA."
"There were tears, but they were tears that I was satisfied with her (Corey's) decision," Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton said.
" We have a sense of peace right now because we know that the person that shot and killed our son will be held accountable for it. We can't really say what the outcome will be, but we have committed to this journey," Fulton said.
The teen's dad, Tracy Martin, said he wants "to hear the truth from him."
The U.S. Justice Department is also carrying out an investigation into the shooting. Attorney General Eric Holder indicate today that the feds will have a higher bar to establish that the shooting was a hate crime.
"For a federal hate crime we have to prove the highest standard in the law it is something that was reckless, that was negligent ... We have to show that there was a specific intent to do the crime with the requisite state of mind," Holder said.
ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report