Zimmerman Parents in Hiding After Death Threats

Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 01:16 PM

By Tom Topousis

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Fearing for their lives after receiving "an enormous amount of death threats," George Zimmerman's parents have remained in hiding since a Florida jury cleared their son of murder charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they told ABC News.

The Zimmermans told ABC they are too afraid to return to their Orlando home, and they haven't even spoken to their son, who also is in hiding.

"Under the circumstances, we have not been able to talk to him," Gladys Zimmerman told ABC's Barbara Walters. "To tell you the truth, we don't trust anything, not even the phones."

"We have had an enormous amount of death threats. George's legal counsel has had death threats, the police chief of Sanford, many people have had death threats," Robert Zimmerman said. "'Everyone with Georgie's DNA should be killed' — Just every kind of horrible thing you can imagine."

George Zimmerman lives off small stipends from his legal defense fund and is unemployed and without health insurance, Gladys Zimmerman said. Asked if he can ever have a normal life again, she said, "Only time will tell."

"Even for us, we have not been living a normal life for the past months. It is hard," she said. "We have lost everything, everything — the whole family, not only George. The whole family. We have lost everything."

After deliberating for 16 hours, a jury of six women late Saturday found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder, sparking a wave of protests across the nation. Gladys Zimmerman called the demonstrations "hurtful."

"This is America, and we went through all of this with the judicial system," Gladys Zimmerman said. "They wanted an arrest for my son. They got an arrest. Now let's, you know, find a verdict ... now they have a verdict. ... He went through the whole process they were pushing for, and now they are not happy with the verdict, and I pray. I pray for them, for God to touch their heart."

Zimmerman's parents continued to defend him against charges that he is a racist or that he initially approached Martin while on a community patrol because the teenager was black.

"He's never been taught to be a racist," Robert Zimmerman said. "Color is the last thing to come to his mind."

"When George first saw Trayvon Martin he had no idea what color he was," he added. "He knew he was inside a gated community. He didn't recognize him as living there. It was raining. He was just casually walking very slowly. But George did not initially know what race a person was."

He said the decision to bring charges against his son was based on politics rather than the facts.

"I never thought that we would see so much hatred, and the hatred is not brought on by any racial incident," Robert Zimmerman said. "It was brought on by attorneys being totally untruthful, other people being involved, having a certain narrative, having a certain agenda, and making this situation race-based and a political issue."

Asked what they would say to Martin's family, Gladys Zimmerman said, "We are deeply sorry for this tragedy.

"We pray for Trayvon Martin to be in a better place," she said. "He is always in our prayers."

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