Florida man gets 20 years in attempted murder of George Zimmerman


A Florida man was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday, media reports said, for shooting at George Zimmerman, who had shot and killed the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 in a case that garnered national attention.

Matthew Apperson was convicted by a jury last month of second-degree attempted murder for firing at Zimmerman, 33, during a roadside confrontation in Lake Mary, Florida in May 2015.

A Sanford, Florida jury had acquitted Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watchman, of murder in the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Martin. The case sparked the Black Lives Matter activist movement that campaigns against violence toward black people.

Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson in Seminole County called Apperson “a danger to the community” as she handed down the mandatory minimum sentence on Monday, ABC-affiliate WFTV 9 said.

Apperson also was sentenced for convictions of shooting into an occupied vehicle and aggravated assault with a firearm stemming from the altercation with Zimmerman, who sustained minor injuries from shattered glass.

During his trial, Apperson testified that the shooting was in self defense. Zimmerman testified it was unprovoked and that he and Apperson had been involved in another roadside altercation in September 2014, in which Apperson had accused him of being in the wrong over the shooting death of Martin.

Zimmerman had claimed to have acted in self-defense when he shot Martin, a high school student who was walking through the community after stopping at a convenience store.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bernadette Baum)



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