SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The man convicted of trying to kill George Zimmerman was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a judge Monday, despite arguments from his mother and wife that his trial was unfair.
Lisa Apperson, Matthew Apperson's wife, complained that the media painted her husband as a monster. She also accused many witnesses of lying during her husband's trial, saying it was "disturbing" to see the "amount of perjury."
Zimmerman told the court that jurors would see a different picture of Matthew Apperson, "if you were to ask his neighbors, if you were to ask the pool man." He also pointed out that only Matthew Apperson's wife and mother came to speak on his behalf.
"Only the two that could spew the lies through their teeth would appear (at the hearing)," he said.
Zimmerman is well-known for his arrest and acquittal in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claimed he shot the teen in self-defense.
He was initially charged with second-degree murder.
On Sept. 16, a jury found Matthew Apperson guilty on charges of attempted second-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and aggravated assault with a firearm. The charges stem from a 2015 road-rage incident involving Zimmerman.
Matthew Apperson claimed he acted in self-defense. Zimmerman said the attack was unprovoked.
"There is nothing that Mr. Apperson did in his encounter with George Zimmerman on May 11, 2015, along Lake Mary Boulevard that was reasonable, prudent or cautious," prosecutor Stewart Stone told jurors.
Matthew Apperson testified that Zimmerman's history and his notoriety after the Martin case made Matthew Apperson jumpy during an altercation with Zimmerman months before the shooting.
Zimmerman pulled up next to him as he was driving in Lake Mary and threatened to shoot, Apperson said.
"I said, 'What are you going to do? Shoot me like you did that little kid?'" Apperson testified, adding that after a short exchange, Zimmerman answered his question. "He said, 'By the way, I am going to kill you. I'm going to shoot you just like I shot Trayvon.'"
Apperson said he pulled into a gas station to call 911, and Zimmerman followed him.
"He pulled in behind me, in my parking space, blocking me in," Apperson said.