Man Who Shot At George Zimmerman Is Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison
By Daily Mail
A Florida man who fired at George Zimmerman’s vehicle during a road-rage confrontation has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Matthew Apperson, 38, was sentenced on Monday in Seminole County for attempted second-degree murder, armed aggravated assault and shooting into a vehicle from the May 11, 2015 confrontation between him and Zimmerman.
Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson gave Apperson the state-mandated minimum sentence, which is 20 years for shooting at another person with a gun.
Apperson’s attorney requested that he be released on bond while awaiting the outcome of an appeal, WKMG reported. However, she denied that request.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, his wife, Lisa Apperson, stood in front of the judge and said that Seminole County authorities have ‘given George Zimmerman a golden ticket to go out and do whatever he wants to do.’
Zimmerman is the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of second-degree murder after fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Apperson was convicted by a Seminole County jury last month, where he testified at the trial that he acted in self-defense after Zimmerman flashed a gun.
But prosecutor Stewart Stone told jurors that Zimmerman’s vehicle had tinted windows, which were rolled up during the confrontation so there was no way he could see if Zimmerman had a gun. Zimmerman also disputed the claim he flashed a gun.
Apperson’s attorney, Michael LaFay, attacked Zimmerman’s credibility, calling him a liar.
During the trial last month, Zimmerman told the jury: ‘I heard a bang and my ears started ringing.’
Zimmerman said that Apperson showed no regard for human life during their confrontation, and even seemed joyful because he mistakenly thought he’d killed Zimmerman.
The incident on May 11, 2015 was not the first encounter between Apperson and Zimmerman.
Apperson alleged in September 2014 that Zimmerman threatened him in a road-rage encounter, but did not press charges at the time.
During the later exchange, Zimmerman testified that Apperson asked whether he remembered him and said he didn’t press charges earlier ‘because I wanted to kill you myself’.
Zimmerman was acquitted three years ago in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, during an altercation.
On the day the 17-year-old was fatally shot, he and his father were visiting his father’s fiancee and her son at her town home in Sanford, Florida.
The 2012 case sparked protests and a national debate about race relations in America.
And the 2013 acquittal of Zimmerman on the charge of murdering Martin inspired a Facebook posting that included the phrase ‘black lives matter’, which later became the name of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Zimmerman called members of the Black Lives Matter movement ‘terrorists’ during a bizarre outburst while testifying against Apperson.
The Black Lives Matter movement was brought up in court by Apperson’s attorney LaFay.
LaFay noted that Zimmerman called Apperson a ‘BLM sympathizer’ in a post he made to auction the gun he used to kill 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.
However, Zimmerman denied that he ever associated Apperson with the BLM movement.
LaFay than asked if it was correct to state that the BLM movement began in part after Zimmerman was acquitted of charges in Martin’s death, a decision that sparked protests throughout the country.
Zimmerman replied that he didn’t believe BLM was a movement at all.
‘First of all, they’re terrorists, not a movement, as you have said now,’ Zimmerman told the attorney, according to WFTV.