Girlfriend wants charges dropped against Zimmerman
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors are considering whether to move forward with domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman even though his girlfriend is asking them not to do so.
Without a witness willing to testify, prosecutors can still use law enforcement reports, 911 calls and other witnesses to build a case. But such cases are more difficult to prove, State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Lynne Bumpus Hooper said.
Zimmerman filed an affidavit from his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, saying she doesn’t want him charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. The affidavit was filed with a motion Monday asking a judge to change the terms of his bond so he can have contact with Scheibe.
Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime last summer in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a case that sparked a nationwide debate about race and self-defense laws. Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, was accused of racially profiling the black teen, but said he shot Martin to protect himself.
Zimmerman was arrested last month after Scheibe accused him in a 911 call of pointing a gun at her, smashing a coffee table and pushing her outside. Zimmerman also called dispatchers, denied pointing a gun at her and blamed her for the broken table.
In the signed affidavit, Scheibe — referring to Zimmerman as “my boyfriend” — said that detectives misinterpreted what she said and that she hadn’t been coerced into signing the document.
“I am not afraid of George in any manner and I want to be with him,” Scheibe wrote.
It’s not uncommon in domestic violence cases for the alleged victims to change their minds about pursuing charges, said Blaine McChesney, a former prosecutor in Orlando who now is a defense attorney.
“The feelings of love and compassion overcome any feelings the victim had,” McChesney said Tuesday.
Although prosecutors can move ahead without the cooperation of the victim, it makes it difficult to convict if there is no physical evidence of injuries, he said.
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