Shellie Zimmerman Holds Press Conference Alongside Attorney On Domestic Dispute
LAKE MARY (CBSMiami/AP) – For the first time since a very messy domestic dispute between George Zimmerman and his wife Shellie, we’re hearing from Shellie, kind-of.
Tonight, she stood next to her attorney in Orlando as he spoke for her.
“Shellie zimmerman wants this relationship to end with a wimper, not a bang,” said attorney Kelly Sims. “Shellie’s desire is to stay as far away from him as she can for the rest of her days.”
Right now, all eyes are focused on a broken iPad which is now at the center of an investigation involving a domestic dispute between George and his estranged wife.
Shellie was documenting her trip to her father’s house in Lake Mary, Florida on Monday. She was there to pick up a few things she had left behind when she moved out because she recently filed for divorce from George.
But George showed up and the two got into it.
“We have one allegation from George that he was struck with the iPad during the confrontation. Then we have one from Shellie that said that George had physical contact with her. So you have allegations on both, we’re just trying to bring clarity to that,” explained Zach Hudson from the Lake Mary Police Department.
Investigators believe what ever happened was captured on that iPad.
“You had Mr. Zimmerman taking photos and video of belongings he thought were his,” said Hudson. “Then you had Shellie doing the same thing, she was following him around.”
But as police point out, dash cam video from an officer’s patrol car shows George throwing the iPad and it smashed into pieces. Now forensic experts are trying to put it back together and pull out that video. But it could take a while.
“The iPad is in really bad shape,” said Hudson. “At this point we do not have the tools available to effectively look at the video on the iPad.”
Hudson said it could take several weeks or months to get to the video.
Without video from the iPad 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. Hudson said without the video, he doesn’t think charges will be filed any time soon.
“As of right now, we’re waiting on the iPad as the last piece of the puzzle,” said Hudson.
Shellie and Lake Mary police released a series of text messages between the two, prior to the argument. Shellie’s attorney said the messages prove that George knew she would be at the house. “He knew that he was not supposed to be there,” said Sims. ‘He knew it was ok for her to be there. He shouldn’t have showed up.”
The police report on the incident is full of finger pointing, conflicting stories and allegations. One of the problems is finding witnesses who will back up the claims being made.
“There’s a lot of emotions running high, people making allegations and counter allegations,” said Hudson. “All that is pretty normal stuff and that’s what you saw in that report.”
Lake Mary is about 7 miles southwest of Sanford, where George Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin during an altercation last year. Zimmerman was acquitted in July of all charges in the shooting.
During Monday’s altercation, Shellie Zimmerman called 911, saying her estranged husband was in his truck and threatening her and her father with a gun. In the police report, Shellie said her husband punched her father in the nose. A friend of George Zimmerman told police that George’s “forearm accidentally hit David in the face.” After that George claims Shellie clocked him with iPad.
“We have one allegation from George that he was struck with the iPad during the confrontation. Then we have one from Shellie that said that George had physical contact with her. So ou have allegations on both, we’re just trying to bring clarity to that,” said Hudson.
Hours after the incident, Shellie changed her story and told police she hadn’t seen a gun. Police said no gun was ever found and that the pair blamed each other for being the aggressor.
“The (incident) report is exhaustive but inconclusive,” said Hudson. “That’s why that iPad footage is critical to what we are trying to do.”
Hudson said that as many as seven people were at the house — friends of the Zimmermans — and they all have been questioned by investigators. Hudson said they didn’t see what happened and footage from the house’s surveillance cameras was also inconclusive.
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.”
On Tuesday, police released a dash cam video showing George Zimmerman being handcuffed after the dispute. In the video, officers ordered Zimmerman to put his hands up and drop to his knees. One officer approaches with his gun drawn while another handcuffs Zimmerman.
Mark O’Mara, who represented George Zimmerman in his murder trial, said on Monday that 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.
Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce last week. She and her husband separated a month after he was acquitted in the Trayvon Martin shooting.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)