George Zimmerman gets probation after threat to feed private investigator to alligator

George Zimmerman, the Florida man acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was sentenced to 12 months of probation after he pleaded no contest on a misdemeanor stalking charge for accusations that he threatened to feed a private investigator to an alligator.

ABC News affiliate WFTV 9 reports that Zimmerman pleaded no contest in absentia, meaning that he was never required to show up at the courthouse. During his 12-month probation period, he will be legally barred from owning a firearm.


According to the ABC affiliate, Zimmerman was contacted by a private investigator and a producer on behalf of a documentary project about Martin's death, to which Zimmerman responded by sending threatening messages after the investigator contacted his family members.

"[The private investigator] is a [expletive] who bothered my uncle in his home. Local or former law officer, he's well on his way to the inside of a gator as well. 10-4?," one text to the producer read, according to ABC.

"I'm going to find him. And I'm bringing hell with me," Zimmerman added, referring to the investigator.

Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch leader when was the subject of a high-profile trial in 2013 that eventually led to his acquittal after he shot and killed Martin, 17, who was unarmed. Zimmerman had received instructions from a police dispatcher to not follow the teen.

The shooting and Zimmerman's acquittal are often pointed to as early driving factors in the Black Lives Matter movement, which has sought to raise awareness of police brutality and unfair treatment of minorities by members of law enforcement.

Earlier this year, Martin's parents sued The Weinstein Company over a deal to buy the rights to the book about their son, arguing that they are still owed money for their roles in the project.

Zimmerman has had several run-ins with the law since the 2012 shooting, including one incident in 2015 when he was arrested for allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend, though she declined to press charges.

In 2014, he was accused of threatening a man during a road rage incident, who also declined to press charges.

In 2015, another driver fired a single shot at him while on the road, resulting in a 20-year-prison sentence for Zimmerman's attacker.