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Last November, after a heated domestic dispute and a frantic call to 911, George Zimmerman’s girlfriend told police that he had threatened her with a shotgun. The allegations were eerily similar to those lodged by Zimmerman’s ex-wife following his acquittal on charges of murdering unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, and they seemed to signal a pattern of uncontrolled violence.
Zimmerman’s girlfriend, 27-year-old Samantha Scheibe, later recanted the accusations, saying in a sworn statement that she was “intimidated” during police questioning and believed investigators had “misinterpreted” her words. But a recently released video of Scheibe’s police interview casts doubt on her disavowal. It also adds credibility and violent new detail to Scheibe’s original account.
Far from intimidating, the officer who questioned Scheibe, Stephen LaGuardia of the Seminole County Sheriff’s office, is a mild-mannered civil servant. And Scheibe’s description of events was detailed and vivid—not exactly the kind of thing most people concoct on the fly. Having broken off the relationship, Scheibe said she told Zimmerman to leave her house. He began packing his belongings, including his AR-15 assault rifle. As he removed the clip and shoved it in his rifle bag, a bullet fell on the floor. Zimmerman then grabbed and cocked his shotgun, apparently so that there was a shell in the chamber, and stuffed it in the rifle bag, too.
Scheibe began carrying Zimmerman’s belongings outside “to get him out faster,” at which point Zimmerman grew agitated and retrieved the shotgun. “The bag was right there, let’s just say this is the couch, he grabbed it, unlocked it, opened it,” she explained, acting out Zimmerman’s gestures. Initially, she suspected Zimmerman might commit suicide. “I was trying to figure out, honestly, whether or not he intended to hurt me or himself.” But then, Scheibe said, he pointed the gun at her.
Scheibe also described Zimmerman smashing her table and and her eyeglasses with the butt of the shotgun. Later, she revealed that she had “threatened to call the cops on him before” because “he has episodes.” During one such episode she claimed that Zimmerman—who was jealous that she had been texting her former boyfriend—choked her so violently that it bruised her throat. When asked her why she hadn’t called the police then, Scheibe replied, “Because I feel like he always gets off.” These words turned out to be prescient: Last month, after Scheibe recanted her allegations, prosecutors dropped the domestic violence and assault charges against Zimmerman.
The entire video is worth a look.