NEW: "He joyfully bragged about killing me," Zimmerman says in court
Matthew Apperson was convicted of attempted 2nd-degree murder
The man convicted of shooting at George Zimmerman in a road rage incident has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, Florida authorities said Monday.
Matthew Apperson was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in September. In addition to the 20-year sentence, he was also given a 15-year concurrent sentence for aggravated assault stemming from the same incident, Seminole County State Attorney spokeswoman Lynne Bumpus-Hooper said.
The road rage incident happened in Lake Mary, Florida, in May 2015.
Zimmerman testified that Apperson followed him, flashing his lights and honking his horn. Apperson pulled up beside Zimmerman and shot at him, but the bullet missed, Zimmerman said. He was cut by glass from a shattered window.
Speaking in court before the sentencing Monday, Zimmerman thanked jurors for convicting Apperson, who he said “showed absolutely no care for human life.”
“Mr. Apperson pulled that trigger and didn’t care. In fact, he joyfully bragged about killing me and said, ‘I got him. I shot George Zimmerman.’ He thought he had killed me, and he was happy about it,” Zimmerman said.
During the trial, Apperson gave a different account, saying he acted in self-defense and that Zimmerman had threatened to kill him.
After Monday’s sentencing, Apperson’s wife said the media had painted her husband as a monster and accused witnesses of lying on the stand, CNN affiliate WFTV reported.
“I can’t wrap my head around all of it,” Lisa Apperson said, according to WFTV. “The lies, the things people have held onto, it’s just so much injustice and it’s such a shame.”
Zimmerman became a controversial figure in 2012 when he fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. The case prompted national debates about the use of firearms for self-defense, as well as race issues.
Zimmerman was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge in 2013.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Keith Allen and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.