In an interview with Good Morning America on Thursday, Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of George Zimmerman, spoke about how she's been scared that people will stalk her, about what she believed to be near-death experiences, and living her life in constant fear of someone wanting retribution. In other words, she's scared of vigilantes. Which is what critics called her own husband.
"I think we have been pretty much like gypsies …We've lived in a 20-foot trailer in the woods, scared every night that someone was going to find us and that we'd be out in the woods alone and that it would be horrific," Zimmerman told Good Morning America's Christi O'Connor. "I'll never forget, being pushed against the walls and thinking at any second, my life could be over," she said, referring to her husband's trial and the security precautions officers took in case people might shoot into the courthouse.
For the record, no one shot into the courthouse, nor is Shellie a victim of vigilante violence. This is not the first time we've been confronted with the irony of someone in the Zimmerman family talking about being scared of people taking the law into their own hands after — weeks after we watched lawyers defend George Zimmerman's pursuit of the unarmed, non-law breaking Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watchman who frequently called police about suspicious people in his neighborhood. Trayvon Martin was one of those people he found suspicious, and Zimmerman followed him after complaining to a police dispatcher, "Fucking punks. Those assholes, they always get away."
During his murder trial, Zimmerman's defense team made it very clear that they and Zimmerman believed that following someone isn't illegal. That was to justify Zimmerman's pursuit of Martin, despite a 911 dispatcher telling him that "We don’t need you to do that." On July 11, days before the verdict, Zimmerman's attorneys presented a motion to Judge Debra Nelson that "jurors be instructed the neighborhood watch volunteer did nothing illegal in deciding to follow Trayvon Martin," Reuters reported, noting that Zimmerman's defense lawyers reiterated "no Florida law makes it illegal to follow somebody."
Shellie's sentiments echo that of George's brother, Robert Zimmerman, who has said that his brother now fears for his life and will be looking over his shoulder until the day he dies."There are factions, there are groups, there are people that would want to take the law into their own hands as they perceive it, or be vigilantes in some sense," Robert told CNN's Piers Morgan on July 14 — the day after a jury found his brother not guilty of second-degree murder. "They think that justice was not served, they won't respect the verdict no matter how it was reached and they will always present a threat to George and his family," he added.
Shellie probably knows that fear in a way that none of us can because of her relationship with George. But she hinted to O'Connor that their marriage may not last, and it doesn't have to do with living in fear. Shellie Zimmerman plead guilty to a perjury on Wednesday morning — back on April 20, 2012, during George's bail hearing, she and her husband lied about some $130,000 they had received in donations, and claimed they were flat broke. And Shellie felt like she was taken advantage of. ABC News reports:
[S]he said a part of her feels "slightly" like she was hung out to dry when he did not stand up for her when she lied to a judge about how much money they had received in donations from outsiders and that the entire ordeal has hurt their relationship.
Shellie Zimmerman declined to say whether she and her husband remain together, but did say she felt "very much alone" without him in the courtroom to support her when she pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Ms. Zimmerman now has 100 hours of community service and one year of probation because of her actions. She wants to spend those 100 hours in a Christian ministry.
As for the the other family involved in the case, Shellie told GMA that she hasn't spoken to the Martins nor has she had the opportunity to express sympathy for the death of their son. "If I could speak to them I would say that I'm so deeply sorry for their loss … I can't even begin to understand the grief that a parent experiences when they lose a child," Zimmerman said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.