George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last week, now lives in fear of his life, according to a friend who also said that Zimmerman "thought this would all blow over."
Joe Oliver, a friend of Zimmerman, appeared on morning talk shows "Good Morning America" and the "Today" show to discuss his friend's life in hiding and offer a sympathetic view of the man at the center of intense public scrutiny.
"He's moved," Oliver said. "They've disconnected their phone numbers. They're in hiding, and they're fearful."
Zimmerman reportedly fears for his life after learning that the new Black Panther group has offered a $10,000 bounty for his capture. The shooting has left the country in shock and led to public displays of support for the Martin family.
Yesterday, pastors and congregants were encouraged to wear hoodies as a symbol of support and rejection of comments by Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera, who stated that the hoodie was a crucial factor in Martin's death.
"After this started- the reports I got- he couldn't stop crying," said Oliver of Zimmerman. "Because he was there and knows what happened … he's been very confident, naively, that this would all blow over."
Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
Zimmerman is still free and has not been charged with any crime due to Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law that allows persons to meet a threat with force, instead of retreating. Evidence from the case, though, may support the belief that Martin was targeted by Zimmerman, who disobeyed orders by a 911 dispatcher to not follow Martin.
On Friday it was revealed that Martin's girlfriend had recorded the last moments of Martin's life on her cell phone; officials were able to retrieve and transcribe the final conversation between the two. Yet Oliver told the hosts that it was not Martin who was crying for help, but Zimmerman.
"From the clips that I've heard online, I heard George. That sounded like someone who was in need of help. It sounded like George," he said. "At that point, either George or Trayvon was going to die."