A judge agreed Tuesday to give the former neighborhood watchman a year of probation for misdemeanor charges of stalking a private investigator involved in Jay-Z’s Trayvon Martin documentary, ABC News reported. Martin was an unarmed teen who Zimmerman shot and killed in Sanford, Fla. in 2012.
The plea made in front of Seminole County Judge Mark Herr Nov. 13 means that Zimmerman isn’t admitting guilt. Should the terms of the plea be met, a conviction will be withheld.
Herr urged Zimmerman’s attorney, Zahra Umansky, to counsel her client.
“Please counsel him,” the judge said. “Words do matter.”
Part of the terms of the deal requires Zimmerman to report for probation by Thursday, Nov. 15, which he can do via phone. He is not allowed to contact Dennis Warren, the private investigator whom he’s accused of stalking, nor Warren’s wife for 10 years.
Warren was working on “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” and was responsible for contacting potential participants in the Paramount Network project. Zimmerman sent 38 texts messages, made 21 phone calls and left seven voicemails with the P.I. Messages sent from Zimmerman to Warren said, “Answer your phone [expletive],” and “I’ll see you before you realize it.”
He also said Warren would be “on his way to the inside of a gator.”
Warren read a victim impact statement in court about the abusive messages, which began last December. Threats sent to him included information about Warren’s life not many people knew of like travel details. That led him to beef up his home security, he said according to ABC.
“The threats were for me to immediately stop what I was doing or he was going to harm me,” Warren said, noting that Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder charges for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon, still has “a propensity for violence.”
“He can’t stay away from trouble. He’s toxic,” he added, doubting Zimmerman would be able to avoid violating his probation.
Warren also said he felt Zimmerman didn’t get what he deserved with the deal but felt “we got the best we could.” Still, Warren hoped Zimmerman’s charge would have been a felony and not a misdemeanor.
Martin wasn’t the last trouble Zimmerman had with the law, either. He faced two domestic violence cases which saw him walk free.