Matthew Apperson, 37, had testified that he shot in self-defense during a road rage incident with Zimmerman last year. He said Zimmerman’s intimidating reputation — especially for his fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin — made him fear for his life.
But a Seminole County jury convicted Apperson last month of attempted second-degree murder, as well as shooting into an occupied vehicle and aggravated assault. Twenty years is Florida’s mandatory minimum sentence for shooting at another person with a gun.
Apperson’s wife Lisa Apperson told Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson her husband faced an unfair punishment — while Zimmerman remains free to wreak havoc.
She said authorities gave Zimmerman “a golden ticket to go out and do whatever he wants to do,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Apperson was even denied bond while he files an appeal, because he was arrested for public urination when he was out on bond last year.
Zimmerman and Apperson both accused each other of beginning a confrontation and car chase in May 2015.
Zimmerman testified that he never whipped out a weapon, but that Apperson was shooting to kill without provocation. He said Apperson appeared to be glad when he believed his shot hit and killed Zimmerman.
“The crux here is Mr. Apperson’s blatant disregard for my life, any life,” Zimmerman told the judge Monday.
The bullet missed Zimmerman but shattered a passenger-side window in his car.
Apperson said he and Zimmerman had another road rage confrontation in 2014, but neither pressed charges.
But Zimmerman infamously walked free after shooting and killing Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, after a scuffle in 2012. Zimmerman, who was a volunteer neighborhood watchman at the time, claimed self-defense and was acquitted — a decision that sparked national outrage.
He has since incessantly bragged about killing the teen, and a restaurant patron punched him in August for doing so. Zimmerman also auctioned the gun he used in the fatal confrontation, supposedly for $250,000.