Months after George Zimmerman was given back his gun after Trayvon Martin’s death, the former Florida neighborhood watchman was released from jail — but only if he agreed to give up his firearms and wear an electric monitor, ABC News reported on Tuesday. Zimmerman must also stay away from his pregnant girlfriend Samantha Scheibe, the woman who called 911 Monday afternoon after she said Zimmerman pointed a gun in her face. The felony assault charge landed him in jail again on Monday, but on Tuesday he posted $9,000 bail for his release.
A bead of sweat trickled down Zimmerman’s face on Tuesday when the judge explained the circumstances for his release and said there is probable cause in his case. It’s not even the first time Zimmerman, 30, and his new lady have needed authorities to get involved in one of their quarrels. Before Scheibe, 27, made her call for help on Monday, there was reportedly a different domestic violence incident, which took place a week and a half ago. This one, however, involved “a choking,” according to ABC News.
After the latest incident, the victim “is in fear for her safety” and asked for “no contact and no return,” the state attorney said. Zimmerman, for his part, threatened to commit suicide and said he “had nothing to lose.”
The accused maintains his innocence, assistant public defender Daniel Megaro told the news site. Zimmerman is now being defended by Jeff Dowdy, chief of Seminole County Public Defender's Office, but Megaro said he was “confident” the defendant would be acquitted. His arraignment will be Jan. 7, 2014.
As if being accused of choking his girlfriend, shoving a gun in her face and threatening suicide weren’t enough, his wife Shellie served him with divorce papers in jail and his lawyer said he is $2.5 million in debt. During his two-day stint in jail, his estranged wife, who had her own domestic dispute with him back in September, was able to serve him with a divorce petition, NBC News added.
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But Zimmerman’s troubles aren’t over there. The Washington Post reported that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced on Tuesday that the Justice Department will soon decide if it will bring civil rights charges against the 30-year-old for the fatal shooting of Martin. Zimmerman's condeded he shot the unarmed black teen in February 2012, but claimed self-defense. His acquital caused widespread anger.
“We have to run through the process,” Holder said in an interview with The Washington Post. “We have to examine all the things that are appropriate. [Former assistant attorney general for civil rights] Tom Perez mandated . . . that we put together a report that we can share with the American people, so that we simply don’t make an announcement, whatever it is.”
To charge Zimmerman with civil rights charges in the Martin shooting would be nearly impossible to prosecute, current and former Justice Department officials anonymously told the paper. They weren’t authorized to speak on the case, but they said it would hard to prove Zimmerman pursued the 17-year-old based on his race beyond a reasonable doubt.