Shellie Zimmerman believes her estranged husband George may have snapped after the pressure of his much-publicized murder trial, turning into what she now calls a monster.
“It certainly seems like something snapped in his spirit,” Shellie told Katie Couric in an interview.
Shellie described a relationship that fell apart once she realized her husband’s manipulative ways, comparing George to a monster.
George Zimmerman was accused of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in an encounter inside a gated community near Orlando, Florida. Zimmerman was acting as a self-appointed neighborhood watch leader and confronted Martin, who he believed was a burglar. Martin ran briefly but came back, getting into a scuffle that ended with Zimmerman shooting the teen to death.
Though their relationship has since soured, Shellie Zimmerman said she doesn’t believe her husband intended to murder anyone on the night of the incident. She added that he is not racist, as many made him out to be.
“George had such a good heart,” she said, adding that George has mostly African-American friends and that the couple mentored two African-American children.
Still, Shellie Zimmerman admitted it was difficult to stand by George publicly during the trial.
“When you’re married to a person who is manipulative and emotionally abusive, you start to lose yourself,” she said. “Leaving him was the best thing that I’ve ever done.”
But Shellie said she is still filled with remorse over Travyon’s death.
“I’m so sorry for their loss,” she said in a message to the Martin family. “They’ve inspired me to take a terrible situation like this and try to at least make something positive come out of it. I pray every single day for them.”
The interview comes at a bad time for George Zimmerman. He faces felony charges for pointing a gun at his new girlfriend and breaking a table during an argument with her.
The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, said in a separate interview this week that Zimmerman is plagued by depression and is becoming obsessed with guns.
Stephanie’s mother added that she started to fear for her safety after breaking off the relationship with George.
“Things have gotten hotter on her end. He has shown up two times already today to her house, so we need to make a move sooner than later so she stays safe,” said her mother, Hope Mason.
Shellie Zimmerman also accused George Zimmerman of pulling out a gun during an argument, but later declined to press charges.