Shellie Zimmerman (Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)
Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY
The wife of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, has been sentenced to one year probation and 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying at her husband's bond hearing.
Shellie Zimmerman, in court Wednesday, admitted that she perjured herself before Judge Kenneth Lester at an April 22, 2012, bond hearing for her husband. At that hearing, she told Lester, who was then presiding over her husband's case, that the couple had little funds.
But in a court filing, State Attorney Angela Corey said Shellie Zimmerman perjured herself by failing to reveal that George Zimmerman had collected more than $100,000 through Internet donations.
George Zimmerman instructed Shellie Zimmerman on how to transfer money from his bank account into hers and his sister's while he was in jail in April 2012, according to recordings of jail calls released by the Florida State Attorney's Office. According to an affidavit, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $74,000 to her personal account days before the April bond hearing. Nearly $50,000 was transferred to an account held by Zimmerman's sister.
Taped phone calls between the couple revealed that they had discussed the money transfers in code to hide the funds, according to the affidavit. Prosecutors allege that Zimmerman and his wife talked about $10, $20 and $100 to mask the fact that they were referring to thousands of dollars. The calls also showed that George Zimmerman instructed his wife to "pay off all the bills," including payments to American Express and Sam's Club.
Lester ruled on June 3, 2012, that Shellie Zimmerman had "testified untruthfully" about their finances. She was later arrested on June 12, 2012, and jailed briefly in Seminole County before posting a $1,000 bond.
George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, in a gated townhouse community in Sanford, Fla., as the teen returned home from buying snacks at a convenience store.
Zimmerman said he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense after being attacked. A jury last month found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Shellie Zimmerman had originally faced a third-degree felony perjury charge but the court accepted a plea deal. Wednesday, she pleaded guilty to "perjury not in official proceedings," which is a misdemeanor. She also filed in open court a letter of apology to Lester. A copy of the letter was not immediately available to USA TODAY.
Assistant State Attorney John Guy, one of the attorneys who argued before the court at George Zimmerman's trial, was back in court to handle Shellie Zimmerman's case.
As part of Shellie Zimmerman's one year of probation, she was given a list of conditions she must abide by.
In part, she cannot possess, carry or own a firearm and must get permission to own any other type of weapon. She also must get permission from her probation officer before moving, changing jobs or leaving the county where she lives.
She must also report regularly to a probation officer, pay $263 in court fees/fines and pay the state of Florida $50 per month as a cost of supervision while on probation.
Her probation can also be revoked if she violates the law, associates with anyone engaged in criminal activity or uses any drugs not prescribed by a doctor.