Matthew Apperson has been convicted of attempted murder of George Zimmerman, firing a gun into a vehicle, and aggravated assault. The trial occurred in the same courtroom where Zimmerman was found not guilty by reason of self defense, in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The sentence was handed down yesterday, on October 17th. It is for a minimum of 20 years in prison.
Apperson claimed self defense. He said that as he was driving, Zimmerman accelerated, and that as he approached Zimmerman's vehicle from behind and to the right, he accessed his firearm, because he feared Zimmerman. Then, as he came close to even with Zimmerman, he saw that Zimmerman had a gun, and he fired at Zimmerman to protect himself. He said that Zimmerman had threatened to kill him.
The shot missed Zimmerman by inches, after penetrating the passenger side window of Zimmerman's truck. Glass shards cut Zimmerman, who started bleeding immediately.
Zimmerman said that Apperson followed him, and shot at him without warning. The prosecution found Zimmerman's testimony to be credible. Zimmerman said that Apperson yelled at him, saying that he (Apperson) did not press charges earlier, because he wanted to kill Zimmerman himself. From staradvertiser.com:
Assistant State Attorney Stewart Stone told jurors that Apperson instigated the confrontation and chased Zimmerman in a car, which was caught on video surveillance from a nearby post office.
Stone said Apperson “retaliated” against Zimmerman during their encounter in May because of this earlier dispute. To discredit Apperson’s testimony that he felt in fear of his life when he saw Zimmerman flash a gun first, Stone relied on two pieces of evidence: Zimmerman’s window was rolled up when the shot was fired and his windows were too darkly tinted for anyone to see inside. Police officers and crime scene analysts verified that information during the trial.
A jury made up of four women and two men began deliberations at about 2:30 p.m. after hearing a week of testimony, and the deliberations lasted nearly four hours.Wftv.com has links to video of both George Zimmerman's and Matthew Apperson's testimony. Be prepared to watch at least an hour of exceedingly careful testimony and questioning. The videos are a good example of real courtroom procedure.
Matthew Apperson was also found guilty on charges of shooting into an occupied vehicle and aggravated assault with a firearm.
SANFORD — The Seminole County man convicted of shooting at George Zimmerman was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.The media coverage of the trial focused on Apperson's defense, and claims that he made about earlier encounters.
A Seminole County jury found Matthew Apperson, 37, guilty last month of attempted second-degree murder, armed aggravated assault and shooting into a vehicle.
Zimmerman disputed what happened in the earlier encounters, but I could not find his testimony in several media accounts that I looked at. In the video from wftv.com, there is reference to his testimony about the previous accounts during cross examination, on the second day.
I did not hear his account of previous encounters on the video of the first day, although the prosecution says they will go there early in the video. It might have been cut off to make the video a more reasonable length.
Jurors have to weigh credibility of witnesses in such cases. The credibility is greatly enhanced by physical evidence. The physical evidence corroborated what Zimmerman said, and contradicted what Apperson said.
I found it is easy to understand how the Jury reached a unanimous verdict on all counts in under four hours. George Zimmerman has been vilified by the media as very few have been, but the evidence was clear.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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