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George Zimmerman Shooter’s Checkered Past

George Zimmerman Shooter’s Checkered Past

Described by neighbors as “unstable,” subject of numerous police responses

The Daily Mail has dug up some pure gold on Matthew Apperson, the man who two days ago apparently tried to shoot George Zimmerman through the head with a .357 Magnum revolver. (Apperson appears with his wife, Liza, in the photo above.)

(As an aside, thank you, again, UK news media, for doing the reporting that US news media can’t be bothered to do.)

I’ve previously reported on Apperson’s multiple arrests, and occasional convictions, for crimes such as DUI and drug possession, but most of those had taken place about 15 years ago.  (See: Zimmerman Shooter Claims Self-Defense.)

What, one wonders, has Apperson been up to more recently?  It turns out, the Daily Mail reports, that “Apperson is also well known to police in several Florida police districts.”

Just 24 hours before attempting to put a round through Zimmerman’s noggin’, Apperson was the subject of a police response triggered by one of his neighbors, Sharee Rivera.  She reported Apperson acting strangely.  He had been complaining of her feeding the local squirrel population, and on this day she found a dead squirrel in her yard, apparently shot by a BB gun.  As noted in the police report:

Sharee has always had trouble with her neighbor Matt Apperson. She advised that he says and does strange things and has yelled at her in the past. On this date she observed a dead squirrel in backyard that had an apparent BB gun wound to its neck. She advised that Matt hates the fact that she often feeds the squirrels and birds in the rear of the building and she believes that this is a sign.

Other neighbors report Apperson as behaving in an ‘irrational and unstable’ manner:

He was very odd and in the days before all this happened, not stable. When I saw what happened [the shooting at Zimmerman] I was not surprised. . . . He always told us that he carried guns around with him. Where we live is a very safe area, so it did seem so strange.

In 2013, police responded to Apperson’s home after they were contacted by a telephone canvasser who told them that Apperson was threatening to shoot someone.  As the canvasser recounted the events to police, Apperson stated:

I have a .357 Magnum and I am going to kill a trespasser.

A year prior, in 2012, Apperson was involved in an incident at a local pharmacy that led to yet another police response.

When told his narcotic medication was out of stock and not immediately available, he reacted in a way that is surely familiar to any of us who have had prior interactions with addicts–angry and confrontational. The resulting police report noted that:

Matthew [Apperson] was extremely close to Jason and very angry. Jason stated he thought Matthew was going to continue to cause a disturbance but he just made a few statements such as ‘You’re going to be having a very bad new year.’

But wait, there’s more.

Several of Apperson’s neighbors have been compelled to call the police over Apperson’s lack of control over his dog, a pit bull.  Apparently Apperson allows the dog off its leash, after which it indulges in the pleasant pastime of chasing human beings.

I expect the further anybody bothers to lift up this rock, the more bugs will come crawling out from underneath.

I would suggest that to a prosecutor considering charges against Zimmerman, Matthew Apperson is not exactly the witness around which one must build a case based almost entirely on his credibility.

Or, as George Zimmerman’s brother Robert tweeted out earlier today:

Robert Zimmerman Jr. tweet

Surely we all remember Don West cross-examining Jeantel. I expect Apperson would be in for a considerably more direct, and even more devastating, cross.

That leaves us with the only remaining question–how long before Apperson is charged with attempted murder (or some lesser included offense) along with “10-20-Life”?   Anybody set up a pool yet?

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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“Nuttier than a pile of squirrel droppings”, is the first thing that comes to mind.

Revenge of the squirrels! The mini-series.

And the state controlled media and the George Zimmerman haters will say “so what”. As I said a few days ago, when this guy finally murders Zimmerman, he will be the darling of the George Zimmerman hating crowd. Hell, they will probably set up a GoFundMe account to help pay his legal fees.

Freddie Sykes | May 14, 2015 at 11:41 am

It was only Matthew Apperson’s x-ray vision that saved him when George Zimmerman aimed a gun at him while hiding behind tinted windows. But how will he be able to convince us muggles that his secret power saved his life?

BrokeGopher | May 14, 2015 at 11:55 am

Seems like Apperson is the guy that the media tried to portray Zimmerman as — hot headed, unstable and violent.

Sammy Finkelman | May 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

She advised that Matt hates the fact that she often feeds the squirrels and birds in the rear of the building and she believes that this is a sign.

A sign of what??

Did the policeman who wrote that not finish the sentence?

    tom swift in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 14, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    A “sign”, as in a warning—like a burning cross on her lawn.

    Better than a burning squirrel, which would be weird even for Florida.

    However, she’s probably wrong. Shooting squirrels with airguns is not a terribly exotic activity, and generally not a sign of anything beyond the fact that the shooter isn’t wild about squirrels.

      SarahW in reply to tom swift. | May 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      It would have had very little meaning except for the past history of hostility. He’s nutty, he’s moving, he feels free to put a little fear into the neighbor he resents. He never made a shooting display before….

        Phillep Harding in reply to SarahW. | May 15, 2015 at 4:08 pm

        No record of, perhaps. Might be worthwhile for the DA to ask around for unreported incidents?

That leaves us with the only remaining question–how long before Apperson is charged with attempted murder (or some lesser included offense) along with “10-20-Life”

You’re kidding, right?

I mean, this guy tried to kill the infamous white Hispanic George Freaking Zimmerman!

No harm, no foul.

FWIW, I don’t like squirrels either, but this guy doesn’t appear to contribute to society in a positive manner.

What will be his prison sentence after a conviction for attempted murder?

Phillep Harding | May 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Carrying a gun is not so strange. Mouthing off about it, though?

    DaveGinOly in reply to Phillep Harding. | May 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    “He always told us that he carried guns around with him. Where we live is a very safe area, so it did seem so strange.”

    Safe? A pit bull is chasing people around the neighborhood and it’s “safe”? It’s surprising that more people in that ‘hood aren’t carrying guns and that Apperson’s pit is still alive.

    jdjohnson50 in reply to Phillep Harding. | May 15, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Carrying a gun is pretty strange when you’ve had multiple felonies in the past.

MouseTheLuckyDog | May 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

The bnig question is:
How much of this is admissible?
Assuming he testifies and assuming he doesn’t.

Mark NeJame is his lawyer, and he has already given indications that he will plead self-defense. Granted there is not much to go unless he testifies, but he might be able to get a self-defense instruction on just the 911 call. Remember George is going to have to testify and is going to have to be cross-examined. Keep in mind that a lot of prosecutors will also like it if George says something wrong on the stand. So he has more added stress in testifying.

I actually see a three prong strategy by NeJame. Prong 1, self-defense. hope that he can shred George and not have MA testify.

Prong 2, get to the point where the prosecution is arguing the guy is a nut job, then plead insanity with the prosecution doing most of the heavy lifting. I can even see this midtrial, assuming that he can somehow sneak a shrink on the witness list. Hell I would put a shrink on the witness list just to make the prosecution hold back on the “this guy is wild” attacks.

Prong 3. Get a great plea deal. let’s be honest. For prosecutors this case is a dog. No matter what happens, you will get blamed by someone. If NeJame makes mincemeat of George it will make the DA’s office look bad, since they couldn’t. If you let this guy walk and next time he injures a bystander… Maybe he can get a Mellisa Alexander deal, three-five years.

    DaveGinOly in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    If forensics shows that Z’s window was up (making it nearly impossible for A to have seen a threat being presented by Z) and if witnesses tell that A pursued Z, then Z may not have to testify at all and A is still toast. (Also, witnesses exist who will say A knew who he fired up, creating, esp. with witnesses to his following Z, a very strong impression that he was stalking Z.)

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Let me point out the flaw in part of your reasoning. He saw well enough into the SUV to see it was George, but not well enough to see George brandishing?

      Keep in mind that his statement to other people was a request to relay what he said to the police.

      Stalking will be hard to prove. He can just as easily prove that George was stalking him. In fact police reports from previous incidents are more likely to show George stalking him.

      As for the window. Can they show that Georges driver side window was up? We are seeing the window with the interior dark, but if the other window was down then the cabin would have been illuminated.
      In fact George’s statement IIRC is that he rolled the window up.
      ( Which does hurt in another way, why would George roll the window up if he was going to shoot. ) MA could claim that G was brandishing before G rolled the window up.

      I doubt you will find any witnesses at all that remember the incident. If you do they may possibly be Jerry Counalis types who remember it MA’s way. Remember hispanic hot lady? ( Stora? ) It was originally her lovers story, but she screwed it up so much that they changed it to her story.

      I agree that the forensics may match up better with George’s statement, but they still aren’t in. In particular the trajectory rods may show that MA was behind George when he fired. The doctors office would have a record of the appointment. Finally The police car will record George driving away from the doctors office, subtantiating his story that he made a U-turn.

      I think they will get him on something, but it may not be as easy as it seems.

        Phillep Harding in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        IIRC, the bullet ended up in the door post behind GZs head, indicating the shooter was slightly ahead. Not by much, from where the entry hole was.

        Glocks are black. Not real visible through tint. Let’s see where MAs claims take him.

        trebor68 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        Apperson knew Zimmermans truck from previous episode. And possibly saw Zimmerman’s Glock either in person or in police video later released.

        There is a better copy on NYDN YouTube account where Zimmerman can be heard offering to retrieve his receipt from the Dr to prove his purpose for being near Appersons work. Appersons claims might also way against him, especially if proven he was wrong.

    Ragspierre in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 14, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Mouse, you poor guy, you try SO hard and come up so short.

    First, there’s a real problem here from the Zimmerman-as-witness POV. George MAY not be subject to a trial subpoena. Subpoenas are not unlimited in reach, even within a given state (I’m making an assumption in criminal procedure from my knowledge of civil procedure). A Florida court cannot simply compel the testimony of a foreign (other state) resident. I’m not certain that the prosecutors would require George to testify at trial.

    Second, Zimmerman’s testimony is not needed or desired by the defense. To call him and have him unequivocally and persistently deny any show of a gun would only hurt ol’ Nutball. Much better to leave only Mr. Nutball’s testimony to ring in the ears of the jury, leaving only a jump ball for them to deal with.

    Third, Mr. Nutball is not about to qualify as legally insane in Florida.

    Forth, prosecutors don’t worry too much about who might “blame them”, knowing that some-damn-body certainly will. Could Mr. Nutball get a favorable plea offer? Dunno. Would he take it, being Mr. Nutball? Doubt it.

      gregjgrose in reply to Ragspierre. | May 14, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from without a State in Criminal Cases ???

        Ragspierre in reply to gregjgrose. | May 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

        Yep. Did you read it?

        You don’t just get an out-of-state witness by demanding him/her…do you?

        dystopia in reply to gregjgrose. | May 14, 2015 at 3:22 pm

        Out of State subpoenas are cumbersome and difficult. First the defense has to locate the witness and serve the witness.

        Next the defense must hire a lawyer in the “foreign” state. That lawyer in many jurisdictions must convince a judge in the other State that the testimony is important enough to outweigh the disruption of the witnesses life.

        Finally the defense has to pay the witnesses expenses.

    BrokeGopher in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I don’t think either side will call Zimmerman. The state doesn’t need him to prove their case. They’ll play the 911 call of the guy saying that Apperson ‘had to shoot’ at Zimmerman. They’ll call the cops who will say they found Zimmerman’s truck with a hole in the window and Apperson’s revolver with a spent casing in it. It will be up to the defense to present evidence of self defense. Are they going to call Zimmerman and ask him what he saw? That won’t help them. They’d have to call Apperson to testify that he saw Zimmerman pointing a gun at him and then the state’s cross will destroy him. He’s going to jail unless he’s got some other witnesses.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to BrokeGopher. | May 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      In that call, he says he shot GZ but he also says he shot because GZ was brandishing and he was scared that GZ would fire. Shot the prosecution may not even introduce the statement because of that second part. Remember in the original trial, the prosecution brought in a lot of recorded statements, Many contained parts where G essential says “it was self-defense”. That’s why G never testified.

      Will G testify? I don’t know, but I think that this is the opposite side of having a defendant testify. Always in the back of the mind of the defense is the idea that the jury wants to hear the defendent say he didn’t do it. I think the jury wants to hear George say that he was shot at, and it would hurt if he doesn’t.

        BrokeGopher in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm

        Well, Apperson doesn’t actually say anything on the call. He asked someone to call 911 for him, and the guy related what Apperson told him. The state may not play the call — they may just call the guy Apperson asked to call 911 and ask what Apperson said to him.

        I think the defense will need Apperson on the stand to say it was self-defense and be cross-examined. Just his telling someone he met afterwards that it was self-defense, I don’t think will meet the threshhold. Otherwise every murderer could claim self-defense with no evidence.

        As for GZ’s trial — it was bizarre that the state pretty much laid out GZ’s defense for him by playing all those recordings. It helped him more than it helped them.

          mekender in reply to BrokeGopher. | May 15, 2015 at 3:33 am

          I can see it now, they play the tape and then “How exactly did you see an imminent threat to your life, one that required you to use deadly force on the highways while countless others were in the line of fire, when the darkly tinted window that is impossible to see through was rolled up?”

          “Well uh.. Umm… Squirrel!”

          “Prosecution rests”

Somebody, please, put this jerk away for attempted murder, before he actually succeeds in killing somebody.

DouglasJBender | May 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Is it not possible that he mistook Zimmerman for a squirrel?

joeyjmiller | May 14, 2015 at 2:41 pm

After firing a .357 magnum from a vehicle, this guy had better hope nobody is after him because he is never going to hear them coming.

    Phillep Harding in reply to joeyjmiller. | May 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    He was shooting out the driver’s window. Left handed would be okay, right handed would be deafening.

What an unflattering photograph of Apperson at the top of this article. Makes it hard to generate any sympathy for him.

    amwick in reply to MikeE. | May 14, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    … and a checkered shirt to match a checkered past.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MikeE. | May 15, 2015 at 12:22 am

    I have seen several photographs of the Great Squirrel Hunter and that is not an unflattering photograph, that is pretty much just how he looks in every photograph I have seen.

“Look. Squirrel!”

Henry Hawkins | May 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

That one can’t see through a tinted window is irrelevant if that window may be opened and closed. Has GZ said anything on whether he opened or lowered his window at some point? Or perhaps miles back before he knew stalker boy was on him?

    luagha in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 14, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Zimmerman said that he was being followed closely and the fellow was flashing his lights at him to get his attention.

    Zimmerman executed a U-turn to let the fellow by if he wanted to pass or prove that he was following; Apperson followed him in the U-turn.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 15, 2015 at 12:21 am

    That window would have never stayed intact if it had even been slightly open. Look at how nice that hole is, if the window hadn’t been supported on all its edges it would have shattered.

      gmac124 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 15, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      The window only looks intact because of the tint. Side windows are tempered and shatter into thousands of pieces when broken. If it would have been slightly down even the tint wouldn’t have kept it from crumbling.

Midwest Rhino | May 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

That shot is high up on GZ’s SUV, and it came from Apperson’s car, making his sitting position a foot or so lower. Unless he was two lanes over, it seems the window was likely down part way, or it would have hit the ceiling.

Just another guess to add to the guessing game.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Midwest Rhino. | May 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    How do you know it didn’t. All they said was they recovered the bullet from the car.

      Midwest Rhino in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | May 14, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      one report said it was in part of the driver side door frame, iirc. The forensic report will tell more later. I think they also said it narrowly missed GZ’s head.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Midwest Rhino. | May 14, 2015 at 6:11 pm

        That report said that the bullet was lodged in the upper part of the door frame at the juncture of the door and the roof of the car. Also, if I remember correctly wasn’t nutjob driving an SUV as well? That would put him at the right level to fire a shot at that angle.

          Midwest Rhino in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 14, 2015 at 6:41 pm

          I thought I saw him in with a car, but couldn’t find it now, and it may not have been what the squirrel murderer was driving at the time. Looks like the road was six lane, three each way.

          West said the window was up, so that seems most likely.

          Midwest Rhino in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 14, 2015 at 7:15 pm

          “Caller: I was in my car, rapping to myself with my windows up, and I looked over, and George Zimmerman was the driver, and he was threatening to kick my (expletive) and to shoot me…”

          That was from the incident before the shot, so am guessing ti’s the same vehicle. If the squirrel abuser was in the right lane and GZ in the left, he’d be more like 20′ away, not 6′, which makes more sense as far as the angle of entry and where it lodged near GZ’s head.

          Still just guessing, armchair analysis. 🙂

          Phillep Harding in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 15, 2015 at 12:51 pm

          Music on (and up?), windows up, and he could hear GZ threatening to kick his butt?

          Super hearing as well?

    Bullets can do very funny things when they pass through barriers, especially at angles. Linear paths should not be expected as certain. Where a deflection occurs, the “exit” angle tends to be smaller than the “entry” angle, which might account for how a shot fired by Apperson from a lower angle might hit the top of the inside driver’s door of Zimmerman’s car, rather than plough straight into the roof liner.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Gremlin1974 | May 14, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Humm, M1 mom must not have come into the basement yet to wake him up, he usually has something posted by now.

Gremlin1974 | May 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm

I just don’t see how an objective person can see this as anything other than an out right assassination attempt, especially with the guy following George through a U-turn. (And yes I am more than willing to trust George much more than Mr. Squirrel.)

The claim of Self Defense if probably more due to Mr. Squirrel actually believing that George got away with murder and thinking he can actually use the same defense successfully.

Is it just me, or does this Apperson guy look like a monumental flaming douchebag in every photo and video of him that’s hit the web?

amatuerwrangler | May 14, 2015 at 11:17 pm

How about this?

Let’s move back in time a bit; back with the following and flashing lights. OK, now farther. Suppose that MA learned that GZ was in town to see his mom and went to mom’s house and/or neighborhood and found GZ’s ride. He sets up on it and waits for GZ to come out of the house and get in the car. MA follows, trying to intimidate GZ into a confrontation. In an attempt to avoid this (maybe GZ knew who it was, maybe he did not) GZ makes the u-turn hoping that this guy will just keep going.

He does not. He follows through the turn and pulls along side GZ. Once GZ confirms who this guy is, he rolls up the window (if it was down; if not, so what?) just before the guy shoots. Maybe G saw the pistol come up and slumped down in a defensive move.

All this to say that MA knew it was GZ from when he watched him get into his car. It was not like this guy just felt like following someone and shooting them and out of all the people in Florida that day he came up with GZ.

Speculation, of course, but not beyond reason.

Mr.Apperson has a valid self defense claim. I have no problem with the action Matthew took. How long until he is charged with attempted murder? NEVER,I hope.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | May 15, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Ahhh, I see mom finally had to put clothes in the drier and came into the basement and woke you up.

    Mr. Squirrel can claim “self defense” all he wants, unfortunately, well not really that unfortunate, the evidence released so far looks more like a half arsed assassination attempt by a severely mentally ill douche bag.

    I think m1’s just straight-up trolling us now, y’all. Not even putting any effort into it.

      tom swift in reply to Amy in FL. | May 15, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Yes, there’s a difference between “perversely deranged” and “childish”, and he’s now firmly in “childish” territory.

      Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | May 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

      He sounds genuinely disheartened. The tides of reality keep washing over him, and his poor wrinkled skin just kain’t stand it no mo…

      Even he’s having trouble #StandingWithMatthew…

      Merlin01 in reply to Amy in FL. | May 15, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      It’s obvious that m1 is a squirrel hater too!

Gremlin1974 | May 15, 2015 at 12:25 am

I would bet that the prosecutor is going to punt this one to the grand jury that way he can blame them either way it goes.

BrokeGopher | May 15, 2015 at 10:01 am

Q: When you observed Mr. Zimmerman pointing a gun at you, was his passenger window up or down?

A: It was down.

Q: Then how did the bullet hole end up in the window?

A: He raised the window as I was drawing to defend myself.

Q: So he put down his gun to raise the window so he could shoot you? Is that your contention?

A: Ummm….

No one has mentioned that Apperson moves his head around strangely, angling his eyes in odd directions. That during the presser his mom and wife seemed to restrain him by the arms. I bet he has serious mental problems that would come out during the trial. Maybe a plea of insanity?

    Ragspierre in reply to ConradCA. | May 15, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I think the guy has bad wiring, but is not legally insane.

    I agree that to look at him, and to observe his weirdly inappropriate affect at the press conference, you’d assume there’s something NQR about him. Whether it’s drugs, or some form of autism spectrum disorder, or some other mental disorder, he just doesn’t look right. But by the legal definition of insanity Rags puts forth, there’s no way that he’d meet that burden in a court of law.

Will Angela Cory be the lead prosecutor, if this case ever goes to trial? Somehow I doubt it. It is not likely George Zimmerman will be the defendant in this case.

    Angela Corey is the State Attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit. This incident happened in the 18th Judicial Circuit, they have their own State Attorney there. I can’t see the Governor intervening to appoint a special prosecutor in such a relatively minor case.