George Zimmerman was accused Tuesday of choking his girlfriend and was served divorce papers in jail before being released on $9,000 bond.
Zimmerman--acquitted this summer of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin--has been charged with the felony aggravated assault of his pregnant girlfriend. A public defender assigned to Zimmerman said that his client is $2.5 million in debt.
During a court appearance Tuesday, Seminole County Court Judge Fred Schott found probable cause for the charges against Zimmerman. Under the terms set by the judge, Zimmerman will be forbidden from possessing any firearms or ammunition, cannot contact his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, and cannot leave the state. He must also have electronic monitoring.
Zimmerman was arrested Monday following an incident at Scheibe’s home in Apopka, Fla., located about 20 miles from Orlando.
In addition to felony aggravated assault charges, Zimmerman also faces two misdemeanor charges: battery domestic violence and criminal mischief. Zimmerman’s arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2014.
Assistant State Attorney Lymary Munoz said Scheibe has alleged that Zimmerman choked her during a prior dispute about a week and a half ago. Scheibe told the state attorney that Zimmerman had considered committing suicide.
She described Scheibe as “in fear for her safety.”
Assistant Public Defender Daniel Megaro, who is also representing Zimmerman, dismissed Scheibe’s concerns. "I definitely would not characterize my client a loose cannon. He is presumed innocent in these matters and we’re confident he’s going to be acquitted,” he said.
Zimmerman maintains his innocence in the matter, according to Jeff Dowdy, a public defender representing him.
The judge agreed to waive the fee associated with the electronic monitoring.
Dowdy told NBC News that Zimmerman was officially served divorce papers from estranged wife Shellie Zimmerman in jail Tuesday. The two were involved in another incident that attracted police attention in September, shortly after she filed for divorce. She told a 911 dispatcher during that she was "really scared," but decided not to press charges. Police investigated the incident found no evidence to justify charges. Zimmerman was stopped by police for speeding in Dallas in July and in September in Lake Mary, Fla. He was issued a warning during the first stop and a ticket for the second.
Shellie Zimmerman's attorney, Kelly B. Sims, told NBC News that "Shellie was saddened to hear of this news [of the latest charges], but unfortunately not surprised."
Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Fla. A jury found him not guilty of all charges after the defense argued that he shot Martin in self-defense.