September 12, 2013

Damaged iPad leaves Zimmerman probe in limbo

By Kyle Hightower and Mike Schneider / The Associated Press

LAKE MARY, Fla. — The iPad George Zimmerman's estranged wife says he smashed is in bad shape, making it difficult for law enforcement analysts to obtain video that may have captured a domestic dispute between the former couple at a Florida home.

click image to enlarge

George Zimmerman arrives in Seminole circuit court with his wife, Shellie, in this June 24, 2013, photo.

AP

As a result, police in Lake Mary, Fla., say their investigation of the Monday altercation between George and Shellie Zimmerman is on hold because there is no clear evidence to charge anyone and neither side wants to press the case.

"We have concluded the investigation with what we have to work with right now," Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said.

Hudson said the investigation could be revived if new evidence surfaces or techniques are able to extract video that may have captured the dispute from Shellie Zimmerman's smashed iPad.

The dispute took place Monday, just days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers. In the papers, Zimmerman, 26, said she had separated from her husband a month after he was acquitted in the 2012 fatal shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

A police report on the Zimmermans' dispute released Wednesday shed some light on how it started.

Shellie Zimmerman, accompanied by her father and a friend, was removing some belongings from the couple's house when George Zimmerman, who still lives there, arrived and began taking photos of her, the report said. The house is owned by Shellie Zimmerman's parents.

George Zimmerman recorded the items she removed from the house and also the belongings she had placed in her father's truck, the report said.

Zimmerman said his wife was "taking property that was not agreed upon and he began taking pictures and recording the items," the report said.

Shellie Zimmerman then took her iPad and started recording her husband taking photos of her, authorities said. George Zimmerman went in the house and locked the front door.

What happened next is in dispute.

Shellie Zimmerman told investigators she heard her father screaming from the garage. Her father, David Dean, told her Zimmerman had hit him in the face, the report said. She said her husband then smashed her iPad.

During a 911 call, she also told police George Zimmerman was threatening her and her father with a gun. Later, however, she said she had not seen a gun. Police said they found no gun, but that Shellie Zimmerman's father "did have a swollen red mark on the bridge of his nose."

At a news conference late Wednesday, Shellie Zimmerman was with her attorney, Kelly Sims, but did not answer any questions about what happened. Sims cited the ongoing divorce proceedings and Shellie Zimmerman's probation as the reasons. Sims defended his client's initial assertions that her husband was armed.

Sims said Shellie Zimmerman found packaging for a new holster in the trash that day and has always known him to carry a gun.

"Bottom line, Shellie had every reason to believe there was a gun," Sims said.

Sims said his client is hoping to move on as soon as possible.

"The only thing Shellie wants out of the end of this relationship is for it to end with a whimper and not a bang," Sims said.

According to the police report, George Zimmerman told investigators his wife had told him she was done picking up her belongings. He said he locked the front door and went to the garage to close it when Shellie Zimmerman's father confronted him, according to the report.

(Continued on page 2)

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