Man who shot at Zimmerman vehicle guilty of attempted murder

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who fired a gun at George Zimmerman’s vehicle during a road-rage confrontation was convicted Friday of attempted second-degree murder.

Jurors also found Matthew Apperson, 37, guilty of shooting into a vehicle and aggravated assault with a firearm, local news organizations reported. He faces sentencing Oct. 17.

Apperson testified that he acted in self-defense last year. He said he fired at Zimmerman during the confrontation because Zimmerman flashed a gun.

Zimmerman testified earlier this week that he was driving to a doctor’s appointment on May 11, 2015, when he noticed he was being pursued by a vehicle whose driver later pulled up, exchanged words and fired one gunshot at him that missed.

“I heard a bang and my ears started ringing,” Zimmerman, 32, told the jury. The trial opened Tuesday in the Seminole County Courthouse.

Last year’s confrontation was not the first encounter between Apperson and Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. Apperson alleged in September 2014 that Zimmerman threatened him in a road-rage encounter but did not press charges at the time.

Apperson’s attorney, Michael LaFay, said that Zimmerman was the aggressor and brandished a gun in both incidents, but prosecutor Stewart Stone said there was no way Apperson could have seen a gun through the tinted windows of Zimmerman’s vehicle.

In the Martin case, Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was acquitted of charges in the shooting, a verdict that sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. Martin was black, and Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic

 

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