Six hours after Lake Mary police announced Wednesday that they would not charge George Zimmerman with domestic violence, his estranged wife stood beside her attorney, who told reporters at a long, rambling news conference that she wants their marriage to end "with a whimper and not a bang."
Shellie Zimmerman may be the perfect example, said Orlando attorney Kelly Sims, of a woman who chose the wrong husband.
"Shellie might be the terrible warning," he said. "Your life might take this wrong turn if you back the wrong horse."
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Sprucewood Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Sims, a respected but irreverent Orlando criminal-defense and divorce lawyer, put on a 40-minute show in front of dozens of reporters and news cameras. It was impassioned, sarcastic, entertaining and funny, but also an attempt to rub some of the stain off his client, who two weeks ago pleaded guilty to perjury, then on Monday called 911, saying her estranged husband had threatened her and her father with a gun.
Police found no gun.
In defending her, Sims quoted Latin, made reference to Siegfried and Roy — but admitted he couldn't remember which was mauled by the tiger — and Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" Callahan.
He called George Zimmerman "a beautiful guy" — but only to people who didn't have to live with him.
His main point: George Zimmerman had agreed to stay away from the couple's home on Sprucewood Road in Lake Mary while his estranged wife retrieved belongings Monday. Sims then handed out copies of a series of text messages they exchanged to prove it.
Instead of staying away, George Zimmerman showed up about 2 p.m. with a "400-pound" bodyguard and a blonde woman, Sims said.
Sims said he was not sure of the relationship between George Zimmerman and the woman, identified in a police report as Samantha Scheibe, but that didn't matter because when Shellie announced she was leaving Aug. 13, she was in effect saying, "'You can date the circus if you want to.'" She filed for divorce Sept. 4.
"We just want to get through this divorce," Sims said. "It shouldn't take that long. They don't have anything."
That's a reference to the couple's financial status. They don't own a home, don't have children, and each spent months in hiding and out of work while George Zimmerman awaited his second-degree-murder trial for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012. A Seminole County jury acquitted him July 13.
At noon Wednesday, police announced that because George Zimmerman broke an iPad Shellie Zimmerman was using to video-record their argument Monday, they have not yet been able to recover the images, and they have no corroborating evidence of a crime.
They admitted they don't know what to do next.
They also released their investigative report. It gives the clearest picture yet of what happened.
According to the report, Shellie Zimmerman and her father were moving out belongings when George Zimmerman drove up. He began to video-record what Shellie and the others had loaded into her father's truck, some of them things he alleged she was not entitled to.
Shellie then began capturing video with her iPad.
Zimmerman and Shellie's father, David Dean, had words, the report said, and got into a fight in the garage. The two sides disagree on who was the aggressor and who did what, but Dean wound up with a punch in the nose that police documented with a photograph.
Police found no marks on George Zimmerman.
The two sides agree that George Zimmerman took the iPad and destroyed it. George Zimmerman told police Shellie had whacked him on the back with it several times. Sims said Shellie did not hit her estranged husband.
None of the other witnesses saw Shellie hit George, according to the report, and police officers who had George Zimmerman pull off his shirt wrote that they found no marks.
Did George Zimmerman threaten anyone with a gun?
He said no, but Sims said he thinks Zimmerman ditched it in his truck before police arrived "five, 10, 15 minutes" later.
Eugene Johnson III, a man helping Shellie Zimmerman move, told police that after being told by Dean to leave, Zimmerman reached for what Johnson thought to be a gun and said, "Come towards me. You're threatening me," according to the report.
Dean said, "'What are you going to do, shoot me?'"