George Zimmerman was released from a Seminole County jail yesterday after spending the night behind bars following a domestic dispute. Although Zimmerman is out of jail, he’s far from being a free man. Zimmerman has – at least temporarily – lost his right to possess a firearm, a local NBC affiliate reports.
Zimmerman was accused of pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend and smashing a glass table before pushing her out of the house and barricading the door during a dispute Monday morning. Both Zimmerman and his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, made calls to 911, which were released to the public that afternoon, and both claimed that the other was at fault for escalating the incident. Ultimately Zimmerman was the one who was taken to jail, but he – along with his lawyers – maintain his innocence.
“Of course he’s sorry about what happened, but he’s maintaining his innocence,” co-counsel Jeff Dowdy said, adding, “I think he’s relieved. He can go home.”
Prosecutor Lymary Munoz originally requested that Zimmerman’s bond be set at $50,000, but Zimmerman’s public defenders wanted a bond of only $4,900, claiming that he’s broke, reportedly with a whopping debt of $2.5 million.
Seminole County Judge Fred Schott met in the middle with a bond of $9,000. Schott said that the increased bond was due to another alleged incident that occurred a week and a half prior to Monday’s incident.
According to Munoz, Zimmerman’s girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, claimed that he choked her during an altercation, but the incident was never reported. “She is in fear for her safety,” Munoz told the judge.
Munoz also claimed that, according to Scheibe, Zimmerman is suicidal.
Zimmerman’s defense didn’t agree with Munoz.
“He didn’t appear to be a danger to himself or a danger to anybody else. Is this a stressful event for him? Probably, as it would be for anybody here,” assistant public defender Daniel Megaro argued. “I don’t think he’s going to hurt himself or anybody else.”
But apparently the judge disagreed.
As part of the conditions of his release, Zimmerman will not be allowed to have any guns or ammunition in his possession and is not allowed to leave the state of Florida. Additionally, Zimmerman has been instructed not to attempt to make any contact with Scheibe and will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure that he does not go near her home. Schott also made it expressly clear what “no contact” meant. However, the judge did make a one-time exception for Zimmerman to return to Scheibe’s home – along with a law enforcement escort – to retrieve his belongings.
Schott also reiterated, “I’m not increasing your bond because of anything that’s happened in the past, because as far as I’m concerned this is a brand new case.”
Zimmerman is currently facing a felony charge of aggravated assault with a weapon, and misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and criminal mischief. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison and permanently lose his rights to possess a firearm. He is due to appear in court again on Jan. 7.