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Thursday 18 September 2014

Zimmerman's wife filing for divorce

Published 06/09/2013 | 01:31

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George Zimmerman with his wife Shellie during his trial in Sanford, Florida (AP/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank)

George Zimmerman's wife has filed for divorce, less than two months after her husband was acquitted of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin and a week after she pleaded guilty to perjury in his case.

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Shellie Zimmerman made the decision because of "disappointment", her lawyer Kelly Sims wrote in a short email to the Associated Press.

Mrs Zimmerman, 26, told ABC's Good Morning America last week that she was having serious doubts about remaining married.

She pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanour perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing following her husband's arrest for the February 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon in a gated community outside of Orlando, Florida. Her husband was not in the courtroom as she was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service - even though she supported him and lied about their finances.

George Zimmerman was acquitted on second-degree murder and other charges in July. The case continues to stoke racial tensions across the country. Many speakers cited the case during commemorations of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's I Have a Dream Speech in Washington last month.

Trayvon, who was black, was unarmed as he walked back to the home of his father's fiancee after going to the store. Mr Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic and was a neighbourhood watchman, began following Trayvon because he thought the teenager was acting suspiciously. He says he shot the Trayvon in self-defence during a fight.

In the interview, Shellie Zimmerman revealed she was not at their home the night of Trayvon's shooting because she had had a fight with her husband. "I was staying at my father's house," she said. "We had gotten into an argument the night before and I left."

Mrs Zimmerman says that while she believes her husband's version of the events leading to the shooting, "I can't tell you how many nights I've gone or laid awake at night just thinking that I wish to God the circumstances had been different." She says the couple lived in hiding while awaiting his trial.

Mrs Zimmerman admitted she did not tell the truth during the bail hearing. "I can rationalise a lot of reasons for why I was misleading, but the truth is that I knew I was lying," she said.

She said she plans to do her community service with a Christian ministry. "I've made mistakes and I want to own them right now," Mrs Zimmerman said. She also told ABC she is deeply sorry for the Martin family's loss. "I can't even begin to understand the grief a parent experiences when they lose a child," she said.

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