Before George Zimmerman was arrested on domestic violence charges in Florida, he reportedly planned to move to Texas. According to a search warrant obtained by the Associated Press, Zimmerman told police he was separating from girlfriend Samantha Scheibe and headed to the Lone Star State when the two had a heated argument.
Scheibe called 911 and Zimmerman, who had five guns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition in his home, was arrested November 18 for aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. He was released the next day on a $9,000 bond in Seminole County.
Texas is one of 26 states with some form of law allowing for deadly force in the face of a threat.
Conditions of that bond dictate that Zimmerman is not allowed to possess any weapons or leave the state of Florida. Of course, that could all change at his next court date on January 7.
Dallas criminal defense attorney John Teakell says Zimmerman could file a motion to amend his bond conditions to allow him to travel or move out of state. Zimmerman's case is still pending, so an outright move might be out of the question for now. But Teakell says if Zimmerman reaches a plea deal or otherwise ends up on probation, he could apply for permission to move to Texas.
However, Zimmerman's high-profile would make the request more difficult to get approved. "If he was George Smith, chances are he puts in for a transfer to another state and it's going to be accepted," Teakell says. "The defendant's high profile could very well affect the judge's decision if and when a request is made."
Why would Zimmerman want to move to Texas? It's possible he finds the Lone Star State's gun friendliness appealing. Texas is one of 26 states with some form of law allowing for deadly force in the face of a threat.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Florida apartment complex in 2012. The black teen was unarmed, and Zimmerman was acquitted for Martin's death in July.
Although Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law was not specifically invoked during Zimmerman's trial, many believe its mere existence contributed to Martin's death. The Texas Penal Code allows for "deadly force to protect property." This law has successfully been used to justify killing, most recently in the death of a Craigslist escort in San Antonio.
Zimmerman popped up in Texas just weeks after his trial ended. He was pulled over for speeding in Forney, about 20 miles outside of Dallas, and let go with a warning.