December 12, 2013 10:32:36 AM
MIAMI -- George Zimmerman will not face domestic violence charges because his girlfriend did not wish to pursue the case and there was scant evidence of a crime, a state prosecutor said Wednesday.
Samantha Scheibe's decision not to cooperate and the lack of other corroborating evidence would have made the case difficult to prove, State Attorney Phil Archer in Seminole County said in a statement.
"There is no reasonable likelihood of a successful prosecution," Archer said.
Zimmerman, 30, had faced charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief following a Nov. 18 confrontation at the central Florida house he shared with Scheibe. She initially told police Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house.
She recanted much of that in an affidavit filed this week in which she referred to Zimmerman as "my boyfriend" and said she wanted him back.
If convicted of the felony assault charge, Zimmerman could have gotten a maximum of five years in prison. He had been free on $9,000 bail prior to Archer's announcement and had been ordered to stay away from Scheibe's house in Apopka.
Zimmerman's attorney, Jayne Weintraub, filed a motion earlier this week asking that the no-contact order be lifted. That motion included Scheibe's affidavit stating she did not want the prosecution to go forward.
"I am pleased that I was able to present credible evidence to reasonable prosecutors who took the time to listen and that justice prevailed," Weintraub said in an email. "This demonstrates how great our system is."
The arrest was one of a string of legal problems for Zimmerman since he was acquitted last summer of murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot the unarmed, black teenager in self-defense during a confrontation in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando.
Relatives of Martin accused Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, of racially profiling the teen and instigating the fight. The case triggered a national debate about race and an examination of self-defense laws.
In September, Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed.
No charges were ever filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.
Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic violations since his acquittal.