George Zimmerman told Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity that he prays for the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whom Zimmerman shot and killed during a confrontation in February.
"I would tell them that again, I'm sorry. My wife and I don't have any children," Zimmerman told Hannity. "I love my children even though they aren't born yet, and I am sorry that they buried their child. I can't imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily."
It is the first public interview Zimmerman has given since the deadly confrontation with Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman reportedly agreed to the interview because his attorney says he hopes it will result in donations to his client's defense fund.
Zimmerman appeared alongside attorney Mark O'Mara wearing a gray suit and buttoned blue shirt. He appeared nervous at times, with sweat forming on his upper lip during the interview.
"I hope it's the most difficult thing I'll go through in my life," Zimmerman said of the confrontation.
Several new details about the incident emerged during the interview.
Early on, Hannity asked Zimmerman if he carried the gun used in the shooting with him at all times. "I carried it at all times, except when I went to work," Zimmerman said.
Yet, in a surprising revelation, Zimmerman claimed to have never heard of Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law that has been at the center of the case.
Zimmerman also strongly denied referring to Martin with a racial slur during his 911 call to police. When Hannity asked if Zimmerman remembers what he said, Zimmerman nodded and smirked. "Punks," he said. "I can tell you that when the police played it for me at the station, it was clear as day."
Click image to see more photos. (George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin/File)
Later in the interview, Zimmerman gave a detailed account of the physical confrontation with Martin that led up to the shooting. Zimmerman said that Martin punched him in the nose as Zimmerman reached for his phone.
"He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk. As soon as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help. I was disoriented," Zimmerman said, saying Martin punched him more than a dozen times.
"I didn't know what would happen at that point," Zimmerman continued. "I would try and sit up and push myself down. Whenever I would sit up he would take the opportunity to slam my head down and punch me in the nose."
When Hannity asked if Zimmerman was talking to him during the confrontation, Zimmerman said yes and said Martin verbally threatened to kill him.
"[He was] cursing and telling me to shut up and telling me he was going to kill me," Zimmerman said.
"After we were on the ground, I shimmied with him on top of me," Zimmerman said. "After he couldn't hit my head on the ground anymore, he tried to suffocate me."
"He said, 'You're going to die tonight.' He took one hand off and I felt it going down my side toward my holster," Zimmerman said.
"At that point, I realized that it wasn't my gun, it wasn't his gun, it was the gun," he said.
However, Zimmerman claims that he initially thought he missed Martin after drawing his gun and firing. When asked what he most wants the public to know in the aftermath of the shooting, Zimmerman said, "I'm not a racist and I'm not a murderer."
When asked for Martin's reaction, Zimmerman said at first he didn't realize Martin had been shot. "He said something to the effect of, 'You got it, you got me.'"
When asked if he would do anything differently in hindsight, Zimmerman said no. "I feel that it was all God's plan and for me to second-guess or judge it … " he said, trailing off.
Zimmerman told Hannity that he fears for his life and said that media critics including filmmaker Spike Lee and MSNBC host Al Sharpton owe him an apology.
"I can't guess to what their motives were. I would just ask for an apology," Zimmerman said. "If I did something that was wrong, I would apologize."
But by the end of the Fox interview, it was Zimmerman who turned to the camera and asked for forgiveness.
"I do wish that there was something, anything, I could have done that wouldn't have put me in a position where I had to take his life.
"I want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America, that I'm sorry that this happened," he said, staring straight into the camera lens. "I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, its polarized and divided America. And I'm truly sorry."