Edit Location

Automatically find my location
Make this my default location

NATIONAL

iPad video becomes key in George Zimmerman case

Police say the domestic fight between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife started over a dispute over belongings.

Lake Mary Police spokesman Zach Hudson said Tuesday he didn't know what belongings they were arguing about. Shellie Zimmerman had moved out of the house and filed for divorce, but went there Monday to get some things.

Hudson says investigators are extremely confident they will be able to extract video from Shellie Zimmerman's iPad that captured the dispute. That will help them decide if anyone should face charges.

Hudson says footage from the house's surveillance cameras was inconclusive and friends at the house didn't see what happened.

Hudson says Zimmerman told police his wife struck him with the iPad.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Police investigating a domestic dispute between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife said Tuesday that video from her broken iPad may be crucial evidence in determining whether any charges are filed.

Police believe the mobile device captured video of Monday's dispute at the Lake Mary house where Zimmerman was living, but the former neighborhood watch volunteer smashed it to pieces and it needs to be examined in a crime lab. Without the video or some other piece of independent evidence, legal experts said it will be hard to build a case because Shellie Zimmerman changed her story about her husband threatening her with a gun and decided not to press charges.

"I think it's severely limited if they can't get anything from an eyewitness or video," said Randy McCLean, a former prosecutor who now practices criminal defense and family law in central Florida.

Shellie Zimmerman, 26, had moved out of the house last month but stopped by with her father Monday to gather some remaining items. Shellie Zimmerman's father owns the house with his wife.

Shellie Zimmerman called 911, saying her estranged husband was in his truck and threatening her and her father with a gun. She also said her husband punched her father in the nose. Hours later, she told police she hadn't seen a gun.

Police said no gun was ever found and the former couple blamed each other for being the aggressor.

"The iPad video is going to be paramount in this case," Zach Hudson, a spokesman for the Lake Mary Police Department.

Hudson said as many as seven people — mostly friends of the Zimmermans — were at the house and they all have been questioned by investigators. Authorities are also looking at surveillance video from cameras outside the house, but Hudson said he believed those mostly captured what happened after the dispute.

Shellie Zimmerman said on the 911 call that a city worker witnessed the dispute, and if so, that eyewitness and any others 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's father and Zimmerman "put hands on each other" but there were no injuries and the father doesn't want to press charges either, Hudson said Tuesday.

When asked if George or Shellie Zimmerman could 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."

Also Tuesday, police released a dash cam video showing George Zimmerman being handcuffed after the dispute. In the video, officers ordered Zimmerman out of his truck and tell him to put his hands up and drop to his knees. As one officer approaches with his gun drawn another handcuffs Zimmerman.

His attorney, Mark O'Mara, said on Monday his client did nothing wrong and the dispute was typical for a couple going through a divorce. On Tuesday, O'Mara said he was not going to represent George Zimmerman in this matter.

"I've come to know them as a family, and it's not a good idea to get in between them," O'Mara said.

Police investigators will turn over all their information to prosecutors, who will then make the decision to file charges or not, said David Hill, an Orlando area defense attorney.

"If nobody is going to cooperate, I don't think anything is going to happen," Hill said.

As of Tuesday, the State Attorney's Office hasn't yet received information on the case, spokeswoman Lynne Bumpus Hooper said in an email.

Shellie Zimmerman's attorney, Kelly Sims, didn't return a phone call or email Tuesday.

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 in 2012 in Sanford, an Orlando suburb less than 5 miles from Lake Mary.

Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense when he shot Martin. He wasn't charged until 44 days after the shooting, leading to protests nationwide from people who believed he should've been immediately arrested.

Demonstrations were organized again after his acquittal. Federal authorities are now reviewing the case the see if Martin's civil rights were violated.

Shellie Zimmerman was convicted of perjury last month for lying about the couple's finances at her husband's bail hearing for killing Martin.

Zimmerman blames his arrest and the trial for the implosion of his marriage, O'Mara said, but Zimmerman needs to be a lot more "circumspect" about what he does.

"Anything he does is going to be hyper-focused on and scrutinized," O'Mara said. "Even though I may get away with a little speeding, he can't. It's unfortunate that this is part of the fallout from a case that never should have been prosecuted and he has to deal with this forever, and certainly right now."

___

Marina Hutchinson in Atlanta and Kyle Hightower in Orlando contributed to this report.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mikeschneiderap

AdChoices

 
Search Results Powered by