So this should be interesting:

Matthew Apperson, the man who yesterday fired a bullet at George Zimmerman’s head and missed, is now claiming through his lawyer, Mark NeJame, that he did so in self-defense in response to Zimmerman brandishing a gun at him.

Florida news station WFTV is also reporting that Apperson has a history at least six arrests in Seminole County alone, including twice for DUI in 2000 (once found guilty of DUI, once found guilty of reduced charge of reckless driving-alcohol related), twice for drug possession in 1995 and 1998 (cannabis < 20 grams), once for trespassing, as well as being adjudicated guilty for other charges, such as driving with a revoked license.

As might be expected with such a plethora of charges, Apperson is also a multiple probation violator.

It will be interesting to see how Apperson will argue self-defense in court without having to testify personally, which would seem necessary absent any witnesses to support his claim that he fired at Zimmerman only when Zimmerman brandished a gun at him.

Also interesting will be Apperson’s explanation of how he was able to observe Zimmerman’s alleged brandishing through the heavily tinted window of Zimmerman’s SUV.

George Zimmerman SUV bullet hole 5-11-15

Whatever explanation Apperson may seek to personally communicate, his criminal history will certainly be used to attack his credibility.

Apperson’s interaction yesterday with WFTV news reporter Mario Boone also doesn’t exactly suggest the coolest of demeanors. Boone reports that when asked for comment outside of the Lake Mary Police Department, Apperson responded aggressively, blowing cigarette (?) smoke at the reporter and forcefully stating: “This is your opportunity to get out of my face right now.”

On the plus side, Apperson has both his mother and wife speaking favorably of him in public.

As of this reporting, neither Zimmerman nor Apperson has been arrested or charged.

Here’s the statement made to the press by Apperson’s lawyer, Mark NeJame. It basically repeats the claim of self-defense, then defers all substantive questions to the “investigation,” stating to the gathered press: “The manner of mode in which [Apperson] acted in self-defense, I’m not going to get into at this time.” (Source: WFTV.)

And here’s the press statement from the St. Mary Police Department, again rather light on substantive detail, from WFTV:

So far, at least, it’s only been Zimmerman who provided any substantive details of what occurred through his attorney Don West (who was also co-counsel in Zimmerman’s murder trial following Zimmerman’s self-defense shooting of Trayvon Martin). Don is quoted by WESH news as saying:

“Law enforcement will do their job. They’ll decide what charges to file. I’m confident George will not be charged. It doesn’t surprise me this fellow would say (that) George waived a gun or did something. He’s in a lot of trouble. That’s a very serious crime. You know, the circumstances would suggest that if he didn’t want to kill him, he certainly didn’t care if he did.”

West said Zimmerman had recently moved out of Florida was in town for Mother’s Day. He was on his way to a doctor’s appointment before the alleged shooting.

“George was driving down the road on Lake Mary Boulevard. This guy was sort of following him and flashing lights and such. (Zimmerman) decided to get away from him, decided to make a U-turn. And this guy made a U-turn right behind him and then pulled up alongside him and shot at him.”

Here’s some video of West addressing these points, again from WESH news:

Guess we’ll have to wait to see how things unfold.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.