iPad video could be key in George Zimmerman case
By Mike Schneider
LAKE MARY, Fla. — Video of a domestic dispute between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife may be crucial evidence in determining whether any charges are filed, police said.
The iPad captured video of Monday’s dispute between George and Shellie Zimmerman, but he smashed the mobile device into pieces and it needs to be examined in a crime lab, Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said.
“The iPad video is going to be paramount in this case,” Hudson said.
Shellie Zimmerman, 26, called 911 on Monday, saying her estranged husband was threatening her and her father with a gun. She also said he punched her father in the nose. She later changed her story and decided against pressing charges.
No gun was ever found, and police officers said the former couple blamed each other for being the aggressor.
When asked who could possibly be charged, Hudson said, “As of right now, it could be either one or it could be no one. It depends what that iPad has on it, what that footage shows.”
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said on Monday his client did nothing wrong. On Tuesday, he said he didn’t think charges were going to be pressed, but that he was not going to represent George Zimmerman.
“I’ve come to know them as a family, and it’s not a good idea to get in between them,” O’Mara said.
Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce last week. She and her husband separated a month after he was acquitted July 13 in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The encounter Monday was the latest in a string of events for Zimmerman. He has twice been pulled over on suspicion of speeding and ticketed once. He also appeared in photos at a gun maker that were published online and he helped members of a family from their vehicle following a car wreck.
Shellie Zimmerman had collected most of her belongings from the house where she and her husband had been staying until she moved out. On Monday, she returned unexpectedly to gather the remaining items, and emotions got out of control, O’Mara said. Police talked to everyone about what happened, but neither side pressed charges and no one was arrested.
“I know the 911 tape suggests that Shellie was saying something but I think that was heightened emotions,” O’Mara said. “There may have been some pushing and touching. That happens a lot in divorce situations. ... Nobody was injured.”
Her father also declined to press charges.
George Zimmerman’s brother Robert Zimmerman Jr. tweeted after media reports surfaced about the dispute that “we’ve learned from GZ case not to ‘jump to conclusions,’ to wait for facts, & to avoid speculation. ‘News’ is a business — not your friend.”
Authorities are also looking into whether surveillance video from cameras at the house captured the dispute. Also, Shellie Zimmerman said on the 911 call that a city worker witnessed it, and if so, that eyewitness could help authorities decide whether to file charges.
Florida law allows police officers to arrest someone for domestic violence without the consent of the victim.
Shellie Zimmerman was convicted of perjury last month for lying about the couple’s finances at her husband’s bail hearing for killing Martin in February 2012. George Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense when he shot Martin.
George Zimmerman has been involved with a domestic case at least once before. In 2005, Zimmerman’s former fiancee filed for a restraining order against Zimmerman, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against his then-fiancee.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired last Friday, Shellie Zimmerman said of her husband: “I have a selfish husband and I think George is all about George.” She also said her 29-year-old husband is reckless and feels invincible.
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