In the midst of divorce proceedings against husband George Zimmerman, Shellie Zimmerman said she has doubts about what really happened in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin last year, she told Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview.
"I'm conflicted on that,'' Shellie told Lauer on TODAY Thursday. "I believe the evidence, but this revelation in my life has really helped me take the blinders off and start to see things differently."
Lauer pressed further, asking, "So you now doubt his innocence, at least the fact that he was acting in self-defense on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed?"
"I think anyone would doubt that innocence because I don't know the person that I've been married to," Shellie responded. "I have doubts, but I also believe the evidence."
Despite these doubts, Shellie vehemently denies that George profiled the teen.
"He did not profile Trayvon Martin," she said.
The "revelation" Shellie referenced came after a domestic dispute between the Zimmermans.
On Sept. 9, authorities in Lake Mary, Fla., were summoned to the house the couple once rented from Shellie’s father, after she called 911 to report George was threatening her with a gun, according to police reports, which provide a conflicting picture of the sequence of events. Neither side filed a complaint over the incident, and Shellie said that she now wishes she had pressed charges.
"In hindsight I should've, and I really regret that, but I'm on probation and the officers made it very clear that day if I pressed charges we were all going to go to jail and I would've been the only one to stay there,'' she told Lauer.
TODAY reached out to George Zimmerman's representatives, and they said they were not interested in commenting.
Shellie Zimmerman, 26, filed for divorce from George Zimmerman, 29, on Sept. 5, less than two months after he was acquitted on July 13 of a second-degree murder charge in the 2012 shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. In court documents, she claimed the marriage was "irretrievably broken."
She told police that she and George, her husband of nearly seven years, had agreed that she could take some of her belongings from the home while he was not there. However, according to her attorney, Kelly Sims, when she showed up, he was there with a “400-pound bodyguard” identified as friend Wesley Robinson, 29, and a “blonde friend” identified as Samantha Scheibe, 27, and began recording her. She responded by using an iPad to tape him, Sims said.
In police reports from the time of the incident, Shellie claimed her husband smashed her iPad on his leg and cut it into pieces with a pocketknife, while George said he took the iPad after she tried to hit him in the back with it. Her father, David Dean, told police that George punched him in the face. Robinson described Dean as the aggressor, telling police he had to intervene to restrain an enraged Dean "so that George could get away from him."
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel Pool via AP fil
Shellie told police that during the argument, George “reached his hand into his shirt to what she assumed was a gun.” A witness, Eugene Johnson, told police he saw George “very aggressively” reach for what he thought was a gun and tell Dean, “Come towards me, you are threatening me.” However, Johnson did not actually see a gun, and police said no gun was found on George.
"I absolutely stand by my story,'' Shellie told Lauer. "I did not see a gun, but I know my husband. I saw him in a stance and a look in his eyes that I've never seen before. His shirt was halfway unbuttoned, and he was putting his hand in his shirt and saying, 'Please step closer, please step closer,' and so I think that just logically I assumed he had a gun on him."
Police have announced they have not been able to recover any video from the damaged iPad.
On the 911 tape of the domestic incident, Shellie can be heard saying of George, "I don't know what he's capable of." Lauer asked about her choice of words.
“They're inflammatory words, considering your husband was just acquitted on murder charges,” he said. “Were they used intentionally to raise questions, to raise doubts about not only his behavior during this altercation, but perhaps his behavior on the night that Trayvon Martin was shot?”
"No, they weren't intentional,'' Shellie responded. “I really don't know what he's capable of. This person that I'm married to that I'm divorcing, I've kind of realized now that I don't know him and I really don't know what he's capable of. I saw a look in his eyes that I've never seen before that day."
Shellie stood by him through the second-degree murder trial, also going into hiding with him for a period while he was receiving death threats.
On Aug. 28, Shellie pleaded guilty to misdemeanor perjury for lying about the couple’s finances during a bail hearing on April 20, 2012 in an effort to get her husband out of jail. She claimed they were broke, but they had collected more than $100,000 in donations from online donors looking to help Zimmerman defend himself in the Martin trial. She was given a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service.
Shortly after his acquittal, she claims their relationship fractured.
"He just kind of treated me like I was disposable,'' she said. "After standing by him, he kind of left and kind of went on a victory tour without me. I thought that I was living a life with him and that we were going to kind of rebuild after all this, and he had other plans for me."
She hopes to move forward with her life after the divorce is completed. Shellie's attorney, Kelly Sims, who appeared with her on TODAY Thursday, said the divorce papers have been filed but George has not been served with them because his whereabouts are unknown.
"(I'm) just focusing on myself,'' she said. "I've lost 40 pounds since the trial. I'm really taking care of myself and moving forward with my life."
Editor's note: George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.