THELAW.TV

Shellie Zimmerman: Buyer’s Remorse?



By Attorney Melba Pearson

Special to THELAW.TV

Ideally, marriage is “for better or for worse.” During the arrest and subsequent trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin, Shellie Zimmerman stuck by her man. So much so that she was charged with perjury for lying about the couple’s finances during his bond proceedings.

But now, she has done a 180. Her change came after her highly publicized call to 911 for a domestic dispute that occurred in her home. It is still not clear whether or not a gun was used; but Shellie claimed that even though she did not see a gun, she “knows her husband,” and his verbal threats and body language put her in fear. Based on her statements and a lack of witnesses, no charges were filed. It was later revealed that both she and her father, who was also involved in the incident, refused to press charges (which is not unusual in domestic cases).

To add fuel to the fire, Shellie is now stating that she does not believe her husband George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self defense. This pulls a scab off of a wound that has not even begun to heal. It raises the questions of whether or not George Zimmerman confessed to her, or if she hid critical information from law enforcement. Even if she did, since Zimmerman was acquitted at trial, he can never stand trial again for the death of Trayvon Martin under the law of double jeopardy. But her statements could lead to legal consequences in the form of obstruction charges if it can be proven that she lied to authorities.

The biggest question is what is her present motivation? Is she a wife, tired of being married to a loose cannon, clearing her conscience? Is she just cashing in on her own 15 minutes of fame, to get media attention, a reality show, and a book deal to help herself? Is she seeking leverage in her upcoming divorce case? And the inevitable question … is she a domestic violence victim? Or is it a mix of all of the above?

One thing is for sure. It cannot be easy being married to a man who has a well-known cloud of suspicion over him (imagine being married to OJ Simpson). Marriage is hard enough; marriage to an infamous man is hell on wheels. One can objectively understand why she wants out. But consider the agony of the parents of Trayvon Martin, who have to again live through the nightmare of their son’s death. Shellie’s statements, whether true or not, add to the pain of a grieving family. Shellie Zimmerman is not speaking to give them closure; she’s speaking to help herself. The fact that she is choosing to interview on various media outlets, rather than quietly pursuing a divorce and/or choosing to make a private statement to the Martin family shows a lack of judgment, a cold heart, or that she is listening to some very bad advice. It is possible that she is a victim of domestic violence; many victims refuse to prosecute their spouses due to fear.

No matter what the reason, it is clear that this is an unhealthy scenario. She made some poor choices that have landed her in a bad place.

Get divorced Shellie … and keep it moving.

The author, Melba Pearson, is a prosecutor in South Florida.