01:02 GMT02 December 2020
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    In 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, and was acquitted of all charges. A Florida man who unsuccessfully attempted to take the former neighborhood-watch volunteer’s life three years later was not so lucky, and has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    On Monday, Matthew Apperson, 38, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree attempted murder, armed aggravated assault, and shooting into a vehicle. The judge called him "a danger to the community" and denied bail as he awaits appeal.

    The incident took place on May 11, 2015. Each man claimed that they were acting in self defense and that the other pulled their gun first. It was the second road rage altercation between the two in less than a year. 

    Assistant State Attorney Stewart Stone testified that if the bullet had struck 5 inches lower, Zimmerman would be dead. He only sustained minor injuries from shattered glass, however.

    "The crux here is Mr. Apperson's blatant disregard for my life, any life … anybody driving up and down Lake Mary Boulevard," Zimmerman told the judge during sentencing. He also claimed that Apperson had bragged about the shooting to witnesses, while believing that he had killed him.

    Zimmerman testified at the trial that during the first altercation, in September 2014, Apperson had lashed out at him over the shooting of Martin.

    Martin, 17, was shot and killed by Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. The high school student’s death sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, as the acquittal of his killer led to nationwide protests and riots.

    "We will hold our collective breaths to see what outrageous acts he (Zimmerman) performs next," Apperson's mother, Janet White, said while pleading with the judge to spare her son from prison.

    Zimmerman has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement since his acquittal, including two girlfriends who reported him for violent and abusive behavior. Both cases were dropped when the women stopped cooperating with police.

    In 2013, Zimmerman’s ex-wife accused him of threatening her and her father with a gun while they were moving their belongings out of his house.


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