In an interview with ABC, George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie acknowledged difficulties in her relationship with her husband, who was acquitted in July in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin after a highly public trial.
Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of perjury. During her husband’s bail hearing, she said that the couple had limited funds, although they had already raised $135,000 in donations online for George Zimmerman’s legal expenses. His wife acknowledged misleading the court:
As part of the deal, Shellie Zimmerman wrote a letter of apology to Judge Kenneth Lester, who presided over last year’s bail hearing.
“By lying under oath, I let my God down, I let your Honor and the court down, I let my family and friends down, and, most of all, I let myself down,” Shellie Zimmerman wrote in the letter. . . .
Prosecutor John Guy said he agreed to the deal because Shellie Zimmerman didn’t have a prior criminal record and the misdemeanor plea would allow her to pursue her nursing career.
“The important thing is that she apologized to Judge Lester for what she did,” said Guy, who helped prosecute Zimmerman unsuccessfully. “The proof is not in question in this case. It was only a matter of what should be done as far as the disposition.”
Court records show that in the days before the bond hearing in June 2012, Shellie Zimmerman transferred $74,000 — broken into eight smaller transfers ranging from $7,500 to $9,990 — from her husband’s credit union account to hers. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s in the days before the bond hearing. Amounts of over $10,000 would have been reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Four days after he was released on bond, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her account into her husband’s account, records show. They also show that the jail recorded George Zimmerman instructing her on a call to “pay off all the bills,” including an American Express and Sam’s Club card.
After the plea, Shellie Zimmerman was sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service, which she told ABC she intends to serve in a Christian ministry.
In the interview with ABC’s Christi O’Connor, Zimmerman said that she was not at home the night last year that her husband shot and killed Martin in what he would later claim was an act of self-defense. “I was staying at my father’s house,” she said. She and her husband “had gotten into an argument the night before, and I left.”
Zimmerman also described her fear that she and her husband would be retaliated against for his action. “We have been pretty much gypsies for the last year and a half. We lived in a 20-foot trailer in the woods,” she said, “scared every night that someone was going to find us and that it would be horrific.”
Their circumstances added to the tension in their relationship. “I want to have children, and stay married,” Shellie Zimmerman said. When ABC’s O’Connor asked, “With George?” she replied, “That’s something that I’m going to have to think about.”
Shellie Zimmerman also said that she did not agree with her husband’s recent decision to visit the manufacturer of the weapon he used to shoot Martin. Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart has also criticized the visit:
Zimmerman used a Kel-Tech 9mm pistol to shoot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. So, what did the former neighborhood watch volunteer do this weekend? According to TMZ, he went to the gun manufacturer’s Cocoa, Fla., headquarters to apparently shop for a rifle. Not only that, Zimmerman got a tour of the facility by the owner’s son and posed for at least one smiley-faced picture with an employee.
The visit set off widespread head-scratching and curse-filled questioning.
When asked by O’Connor whether she thought George Zimmerman could have intentionally killed Martin because Martin was black, Shellie Zimmerman said, “That’s just not his way.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article attributed a statement by Shellie Zimmerman in the final paragraph to the wrong person. This version has been corrected.