George Zimmerman-domestic dispute: Florida attorneys say they won't prosecute Zimmerman after girlfriend changes her story.

George Zimmerman Won't Be Prosecuted For Domestic Assault After All

George Zimmerman Won't Be Prosecuted For Domestic Assault After All

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Dec. 11 2013 5:19 PM

George Zimmerman Won't Be Prosecuted For Domestic Assault After All

George Zimmerman, the acquitted shooter in the death of Trayvon Martin, faces a Seminole circuit judge during a first-appearance hearing on charges including aggravated assault stemming from a fight with his girlfriend November 19, 2013

Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman won't be prosecuted in connection with a domestic dispute with his girlfriend that led to his arrest last month, via the Orlando Sentinel:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.

In a statement, [Seminole-Brevard State Attorney Phil] Archer said that at the time of the arrest, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office did have probable cause to take Zimmerman into custody on aggravated assault and other charges. "However, upon reviewing the recent affidavit... and taking into account the conflicting statements about what occurred, the failure to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, and a lack of any other corroborating evidence or witnesses, there is no reasonable likelihood of successful prosecution," Archer said. ...
After prosecutors filed paperwork declining to file charges, Zimmerman was released from his court-ordered bond conditions. That means he'll no longer have to stay away from Scheibe, or wear a GPS device.

The announcement comes less than a week after Zimmerman's girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, signed an affidavit saying that she didn't want Zimmerman to be charged and that she "felt very intimidated" when being questioned by police after the incident. "I believe that the police misinterpreted me and that I may have misspoken about certain facts in my statement to police," she claimed.

According to police, Scheibe originally alleged that Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her face during the domestic dispute, and also broke a table, pushed her out of the home and then barricaded the door with furniture. (Prosecutors also say that Scheibe later told them that he tried to choke her about a week before the incident.) Zimmerman denied that's how things played out, and used his own 911 call on the day of the dispute to tell a police dispatcher that his girlfriend went "crazy on [him]."

Prosecutors could have pressed forward with police reports and 911 transcripts to build a case against Zimmerman, but with Scheibe unwilling to cooperate they faced an uphill battle in earning a conviction.

Zimmerman was facing a third-degree felony aggravated assault charge, which carried with it up to 5 years in prison, and a pair of misdemeanors. He was granted bail last month and ordered to stay clear of Scheibe and her home, and not possess guns or ammunition while he awaits trial—restrictions he will no longer be subject to.

The November incident was Zimmerman's latest brush with the law since he was acquitted this summer after shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. In September, he was temporarily taken into custody after his estranged wife, Shellie, called 911 to say that he had punched her father in the face and threatened her with a gun. She, too, would later change her story, and police declined to press charges.

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