A Florida man was found guilty Friday of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at George Zimmerman in a 2015 road rage incident, CNN reports.
Matthew Apperson, 27, was also found guilty of shooting into a vehicle and aggravated assault with a firearm, and faces a minimum of 20 years in prison because the crime involved a firearm, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The altercation took place in Lake Mary, Fla., in May 2015. Apperson said that Zimmerman, 31, had threatened to kill him and flashed a gun first. He maintains that it was a case of self-defense.
Zimmerman testified that Apperson followed him, flashing his lights and honking his horn. The prosecution alleged that Apperson was the aggressor and pulled up beside Zimmerman and shot at him, the bullet from his .357 Magnum shattering his window and lodging into Zimmerman’s car seat.
Assistant State Attorney Stewart Stone said that Apperson’s behavior failed to meet the standard of self-defense because he did not act in a reasonable, prudent or cautious manner prior to firing.
“George Zimmerman is no Boy Scout—I get that, and you get that,” Stone said. “But no matter how you feel about George Zimmerman, he can still be a victim of a crime, and he was in this case.”
The Sentinel reports that the two men had a prior altercation. In September 2014, they had an argument about the Trayvon Martin case. Zimmerman became a controversial public figure and pariah in 2012 when he fatally the shot African-American teenager and was not convicted of second-degree murder. Apperson allegedly told Zimmerman that he was wrong to kill Trayvon, and Zimmerman began threatening and following him.
Stone said that Apperson “retaliated” against Zimmerman during their encounter in May because of this earlier dispute.
Apperson will be sentenced October 17.