Man who shot at George Zimmerman gets 20-year prison term

A judge sentenced Matthew Appperson to 20 years in prison for trying to kill George Zimmerman in a road rage incident.

A Florida man who fired at George Zimmerman during a road-rage altercation was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday, authorities said.

Matthew Apperson, 38, was convicted by a Seminole County jury last month of attempted second-degree murder, armed aggravated assault and shooting into a vehicle during a confrontation in Lake Mary, Fla., in May 2015.

Apperson told authorities he acted in self-defense after Zimmerman threatened him by pointing a gun at him first. Zimmerman disputed Apperson's claim, testifying that Apperson pulled up next to his pickup and shot him — the bullet missing and striking the passenger side window. Zimmerman suffered minor injuries from the broken glass.

In an audio recording of a 911 call released by Lake Mary Police in 2015, an unidentified man told a dispatcher, "A guy just said he had to pull a gun on a guy … he had to shoot at somebody." Questioned further by the dispatcher, the unidentified caller said Apperson was standing by the side of the road nearby. "He's driving an Infinity. He said it was George Zimmerman."

Janet White, Apperson's mother, pleaded with Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to drop the verdict, casting the blame squarely on Zimmerman.

"We will hold our collective breaths to see what outrageous acts he (Zimmerman) performs next," White told the judge during the hearing, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Apperson's wife, Lisa, also accused Zimmerman of being the instigator of the incident, claiming her husband's innocence.

Authorities have "given George Zimmerman a golden ticket to go out and do whatever he wants to do," Lisa Apperson told the judge, according to the Sentinel. 

This wasn't the first time Zimmerman and Apperson were allegedly involved in an incident together. Back in September 2014, the two men reportedly shouted at each other, with Apperson claiming Zimmerman threatened to kill him during a confrontation in their vehicles. Apperson — who called the authorities — decided not to press charges.

Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman acquitted of second-degree murder after fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, has had several brushes with the law since his controversial acquittal. In January 2015, Zimmerman was accused of assault by his then-girlfriend, who later recanted and decided not to file charges.

In September 2013, his estranged wife, Shellie, called authorities, claiming Zimmerman punched her father and was threatening her with a gun. She did not press charges.

Two months after the incident with his wife, Zimmerman was arrested and accused of domestic violence by girlfriend Samantha Scheibe. Scheibe later dropped the charges.

Contributing: Greg Toppo from Tysons, Va.

USA TODAY


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment