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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A white software developer is about to go on trial in Florida in the death of a black teenager — in a case that raises comparisons to the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of 47-year-old Michael Dunn.

Police say Dunn fatally shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis in 2012 outside a Jacksonville convenience store after arguing over loud music that Davis and his friends were playing from their SUV.

Dunn says he fired multiple shots into the SUV after the teens threatened him and one raised a shotgun. Dunn was arrested the next day.

Zimmerman, a Hispanic, was acquitted of second-degree murder last year in the death of Martin, a 17-year-old black teen.

Published in National News
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:29

Charges against George Zimmerman were dropped

MIAMI (AP) - Prosecutors say they will not file domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman after his girlfriend said in a sworn statement she did not want to pursue the case.

State Attorney Phil Archer in Seminole County said in a statement Wednesday that Samantha Scheibe's decision not to cooperate and the lack of other corroborating evidence made a successful prosecution unlikely.

Zimmerman had faced charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief following a Nov. 18 incident at the central Florida house he shared with Scheibe. She initially told police Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her face, then recanted in an affidavit filed this week.

Zimmerman was acquitted last summer in the shooting death of unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin. The case sparked a nationwide debate about race and self-defense laws.

Published in National News

 ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - George Zimmerman is asking a judge to change the terms of his bond so he can have contact with the girlfriend he's accused of assaulting.

 

   Zimmerman on Monday filed an affidavit from his girlfriend that says she doesn't want him charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief.

   In the signed affidavit, Samantha Scheibe says she hasn't been coerced into the request. She says detectives misinterpreted what she said. In the affidavit, she calls Zimmerman "my boyfriend."

 

   Zimmerman was arrested last month after Scheibe accused him in a call to 911 of pointing a gun at her, smashing a coffee table and pushing her outside.

 

   Prosecutors could continue with the case despite Scheibe's request.

   Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime last summer in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin.

Published in National News
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 04:22

George Zimmerman released from jail

   SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman is once again a free man after an arrest on criminal charges — but his freedom carries conditions.

   The former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin earlier this year was released from jail Tuesday pending arraignment on the latest charges against him: aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief.

   Zimmerman was released on the condition that he wear an electronic monitor, keep his distance from guns, and stay away from the girlfriend who accused him of trying to choke her and then a week later pointing a shotgun at her. His bond was set at $9,000.

   Zimmerman's arrest is the latest of several brushes he has had with the law following his acquittal in Martin's death, a case that drew worldwide attention as it sparked nationwide debates about race and self-defense laws.

   The choking accusation was disclosed for the first time by a prosecutor at Zimmerman's first appearance Tuesday before a judge. Zimmerman's girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, feared for her life because Zimmerman mentioned suicide and said he "had nothing to lose," according to Assistant State Attorney Lymary Munoz.

   After the hearing, Zimmerman's public defenders said he did not appear to be suicidal and expressed confidence he would be acquitted of any wrongdoing.

   "He doesn't appear to be a danger to himself or a danger to anybody else," said public defender Daniel Megaro.

   Zimmerman, 30, wore gray jail garments and handcuffs during the hearing and spoke only when answering yes or no to the judge.

   Judge Frederic Schott ordered him to stay away from Scheibe's house, wear a monitoring device and refrain from contact with her. He was forbidden from possessing guns or ammunition or traveling outside Florida.

   Zimmerman has been charged with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. He also has been charged with battery and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. An arraignment was set for Jan. 7.

   Judge Schott said Zimmerman's previous brushes with the law were not a factor in the conditions he imposed, but he did cite the new allegation of choking as a reason for the bond amount.

   Earlier this year, Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the February 2012 fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin. The Justice Department has been investigating whether to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman related to that case. A department spokesman said Tuesday that it would announce its decision soon.

   Zimmerman revealed in an affidavit for hiring public defenders that he has at least $2 million in debts and no income. He said he had less than $150 in cash on hand.

   Public defender Jeff Dowdy said Zimmerman's family has been supporting him financially.

   "I would think it would be difficult for George Zimmerman to get a job in central Florida," he said.

   Zimmerman has previously used a website to raise money for his legal and living expenses, including $95,000 spent on bail in the Trayvon Martin case. The site also says tens of thousands of dollars were spent on living expenses and security.

   In this latest scuffle, both Zimmerman and his girlfriend called 911 Monday and provided dueling descriptions to dispatchers about the argument at the home she rented where Zimmerman was also staying.

   Scheibe accused him in the emergency call of pointing a gun at her, smashing a coffee table and then pushing her outside. Zimmerman also called dispatchers, denied pointing a gun at her and blamed her for the broken table.

   The girlfriend told deputies the ordeal started with a verbal argument and that she asked Zimmerman to leave the house. Her account in the arrest report says he began packing his belongings, including a shotgun and an assault rifle. She says she began putting his things in the living room and outside the house, and he became upset.

   At that point, the report said, he took the shotgun out of its case.

   Zimmerman told his girlfriend to leave and smashed a pair of her sunglasses as she walked toward the front door, the report said. Scheibe told deputies he pushed her out of the house when she got close to the door.

   In his call to 911, Zimmerman said he never pulled a gun on his girlfriend and that it was she who smashed a table. He also told the dispatcher that Scheibe was pregnant with their child and that she had decided she would raise the child on her own. When Zimmerman started to leave, "she got mad," he said.

   Seminole County Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma said at a news conference that Scheibe was not pregnant. He also said Zimmerman was compliant and unarmed when deputies came to the house.

   On Tuesday, Dowdy said he could not confirm whether the girlfriend was pregnant.

   The arrest Monday was the latest legal problem for Zimmerman since he was acquitted last summer of criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Martin. Zimmerman has said he shot the 17-year-old to defend himself during a fight in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando.

   Relatives of Martin accused Zimmerman of racially profiling the teen and instigating a fight. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

   In September, just two months after his acquittal, Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was not armed.

   No charges were ever filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers. George Zimmerman was served the papers while in custody on the latest charges, said Shellie Zimmerman's lawyer, Kelly Sims.

   In 2005, he had to take anger-management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman's friend.

   Later that year, Zimmerman's former fiancee filed for a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against her. Both requests were granted, and no criminal charges were filed.

   Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic stops.

Published in National News
Monday, 18 November 2013 14:28

George Zimmerman arrested again in Florida

APOPKA, Fla. (AP) - Officials say George Zimmerman has been arrested in Florida.

A Seminole County Sheriff's Office statement says Zimmerman was arrested Monday afternoon after deputies responded to a disturbance call at a house in Apopka, about 15 miles northwest of Orlando. Zimmerman will be transported and booked into jail.

The statement provided few other details, and it was not immediately known what charges he faced.

Monday's arrest was just the latest legal trouble for the former neighborhood watch volunteer, who was acquitted earlier this year of all charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman and his estranged wife were involved in a domestic dispute in September. Police said no charges were filed against either of them because of a lack of evidence.

That dispute took place just days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.

 
Published in Local News
Saturday, 14 September 2013 09:20

After acquittal, Zimmerman still in spotlight

LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) — Whether they think he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or was just a neighborhood watch volunteer "standing his ground," many Americans can't seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can't seem to stop giving it to them.

So it's hardly surprising that everything Zimmerman does produces a Twitterverse explosion and spins into heavy news coverage. Comedian Deon Cole nailed it when he said being found not guilty doesn't make Zimmerman a free man.

He certainly hasn't been free from the spotlight. He's been stopped for speeding and toured the factory where the pistol from the shooting was made. This week, Zimmerman was handcuffed in the street after an alleged scuffle with his estranged wife and father-in-law.

Crisis management expert Mark McClennan calls the pattern of fame a two-way street.

Published in National News

LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) - Police have released a dash cam video of George Zimmerman being handcuffed after his estranged wife called 911 and said he was threatening her with a gun.

The video released Tuesday shows officers ordering Zimmerman out of his truck. They tell him to put his hands up and drop to his knees. Two officers approach him. One of them has a gun drawn while the other handcuffs Zimmerman.

Police are investigating whether George Zimmerman or Shellie Zimmerman should be charged after the dispute Monday. Shellie Zimmerman told a 911 dispatcher George Zimmerman threatened her with a gun, but later told police she didn't see a gun.

Authorities in Lake Mary say video from her broken iPad may be crucial evidence in determining whether any charges are filed.

Published in National News
Monday, 09 September 2013 14:02

Florida police called on George Zimmerman

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - George Zimmerman's wife has called police to her father's house, saying the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder threatened her with a gun.

Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell says Shellie Zimmerman called police shortly after 2 p.m. Monday.

Bracknell says Zimmerman hasn't been arrested and officers are at the house trying to determine what happened.

Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce last week.

In the divorce petition, Shellie Zimmerman says she and her husband separated a month after Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin last July.

Zimmerman's acquittal led to protests nationwide.

Published in National News

   WASHINGTON (AP) - The father of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin will be on Capitol Hill for a hearing addressing the challenges faced by African-American boys and men.

   Tracy Martin will give opening remarks Wednesday at the inaugural hearing of the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Illinois Congressman Danny Davis are the co-chairs of the newly formed caucus. Both are Democrats.

   The hearing will also feature remarks by David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans; Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson; and Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman and NAACP president.

   Earlier this month, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder in the slaying of the 17 year old Martin, who was unarmed.

   

 
Published in National News

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Officials say George Zimmerman helped rescue four people from an overturned vehicle last week, just days after he was cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Seminole County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Cannaday said in a statement Monday that deputies responding to the wreck found Zimmerman and another man had already helped the couple and their two children out of the flipped SUV.

The sheriff's office report says Zimmerman spoke with a deputy at the scene and then left. Zimmerman did not see the crash happen.

Zimmerman had been charged with second-degree murder in the 17-year-old's death. His acquittal prompted rallies nationwide calling for a civil rights probe, and the case has sparked debate about race and self-defense laws.

Published in National News
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