George Zimmerman’s girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, described Zimmerman as alone, depressed and fascinated by guns in the days after his acquittal on charges in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin.
Scheibe and her mother, Hope Mason, spoke with WKMG-TV on and off through text messages and phone calls over the past three weeks as they talked about participating in an on camera interview about Scheibe’s relationship with Zimmerman.
That interview never materialized, but the conversations provided extensive details about the couple’s relationship and Zimmerman’s life after the verdict.
Scheibe first entered the public eye as the mystery blonde seen in news helicopter video consoling George Zimmerman after that infamous iPad incident with his wife, Shellie.
By the time of that September incident, Shellie had filed for divorce, and George Zimmerman had started dating Scheibe. Zimmerman eventually moved into her home.
But soon, Scheibe said her relationship with Zimmerman decayed as he fought bouts of depression. She said she feared him, but said she stayed with him because she thought she could help him.
By the end of October, Scheibe said she demanded that Zimmerman get professional help for depression. She claims that in response, Zimmerman moved all of her furniture, clothes and food out of her Seminole County home.
“She’s scared is the bottom line,” Scheibe’s mother, Mason, wrote in a text message.
Scheibe and her mother started to seek interviews with national media outlets. Mason said she hoped by Scheibe doing the interview, she would force Zimmerman to get help -- and the attention would keep Scheibe safe.
“Things have gotten hotter on her end. He has shown up two times already today to her house, so we need to make a move sooner than later so she stays safe,” Mason wrote in a text message.
But soon after, Scheibe said she and Zimmerman apologized to one another, and he moved the furniture back in.
But Scheibe said the relationship continued to be volatile. She said at times she feared for her life, and other times “everything was fine.”
After one argument with Zimmerman, Scheibe said she went to her mother’s house to get away from him.
While there, Mason said Scheibe’s daughter received a text message from George Zimmerman. Mason said that message was a still image from an intimate home video of Scheibe and Zimmerman.
“He’s now threatened her in writing and even sent a portion of the video to her baby girl,” Mason wrote in a text message.
But still Scheibe stayed with Zimmerman and the couple reunited.
Just last Thursday, Mason was still seeking a national interview. But this time she was promising both George Zimmerman and Samantha Scheibe.
That interview never happened, and just four days later, Scheibe called 911 saying Zimmerman had threatened with a gun.
Samantha Scheibe's mother says her daughter did not hunt down George Zimmerman to create a relationship with the man found not guilty in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Scheibe said she first met Zimmerman more than 12 years ago when she was in her late teens -- before Zimmerman was married to Shellie. Scheibe says they dated for a short time.
Even though their relationship didn't work out at that time, Scheibe says she was a constant friend to George -- and to Shellie -- throughout their marriage.
When the relationship between George and Shellie started to sour, Scheibe says she stepped in to "be there" for George as a friend, and it was during that time a romance began to kindle.
She echoed a sentiment about Zimmerman that many testified about during his trial: George was a nice, warm man and would help you with whatever you needed help with.
He was "Georgie," she said.
Scheibe says George and Shellie's relationship had soured by February 2012.
On February 26 -- the night of the shooting -- she says Shellie and George had gotten into a heated argument. Shellie had left to spend the night elsewhere, and that’s why she wasn’t home when the shooting happened.
Talk of divorce had already started, she says.
During his murder trial, George and Shellie shared a home owned by Shellie's parents in Lake Mary.
While they arrived and departed the courthouse together everyday, Schiebe says they were not "a couple," in the traditional sense. Shellie and George were living very separate lives, not speaking much even though they continued to live together, she says.
Even though his parents testified on his behalf during the trial, George didn't speak much with his parents, she says.
Scheibe says after the jury returned a not guilty verdict on all charges stemming from the shooting of Trayvon Martin, George began to change.
When the media fervor surrounding him went away, she and her mother say Zimmerman spiraled into what she calls a very deep depression. She said doctors prescribed medication to help him with the bouts of sadness and despair he was feeling, but he got to a point where he stopped taking it.
She says George would spend days in bed, refusing to get up and refusing to take his medication. She claims the depression got worse.
Scheibe says there was time when she walked into his bedroom, and she saw an empty bottle of sleeping pills on his sidetable. She claims he overdosed. She wasn't able to revive him and watched his breathing.
When he finally did wake up, he started crying and eventually put a gun inside his mouth, telling her he was ready to end it all. She says she talked him out of it.
Scheibe says Zimmerman threatened to take his own life on more than one occasion, and she says the threats seem to come about when he was not one of the news headlines.
She says she believes Zimmerman enjoyed the attention he was getting in the news, while also knowing he wasn't able to carve out a "normal existence" if he was always a headline.
Also after the verdict, Scheibe said Zimmerman formed an inseparable bond with his dog, Oso. Zimmerman wouldn't go anywhere Oso couldn't go at a moment's notice, which is why he drove virtually everywhere he went, including Texas, where he again made headlines after being pulled over in a traffic stop by police.
Fight with Shellie
Zimmerman's televised fight with his estranged wife Shellie happened on Sept. 9, 2013, at a home they had rented from her mother, Machelle Dean.
Scheibe says she and Zimmerman had spent the morning at Kel Tec, a gun manufacturer in Cocoa. On their way back to the Orlando area, Scheibe says Zimmerman accessed the home surveillance cameras at the Lake Mary home belonging to her mother using an app on his phone. She says he saw Shellie was moving her things out, but she says she also say him moving things that belonged to him.
That's when they drove to the house, and the fight escalated, Scheibe said.
Scheibe says she watched as Shellie hit George over the head repeatedly with her iPad. That's when she said George took the iPad away from her, broke it over his knee and threw it to the ground.
Scheibe claims George did have a gun on him that day, and it wasn't in the trunk of his car.
Scheibe refused to give police a statement that day, as reflected in the police report obtained by Local 6.
No charges were ever filed, and the case was closed.
Zimmerman's version of events
At his first appearance Tuesday on charges connected to the alleged domestic violence incident with Scheibe, Zimmerman’s lawyers said the first they had heard about the allegations that Zimmerman had suicidal thoughts was at the hearing.
“I do not know if it’s true or not,” Jeff Dowdy of the Seminole County Public Defender’s Office said in response to a reporter’s question about Zimmerman’s alleged suicidal thoughts.
In his 911 call during the Monday incident with Scheibe, Zimmerman said, Scheibe had “gone crazy on me.”
Zimmerman told the dispatcher that he believed Scheibe was pregnant with their child. Seminole County Sheriff’s officials say Scheibe is not pregnant.
Zimmerman said Scheibe was the one who smashed things in the house during the argument. “I guess she thought I was going to argue with her. But she’s pregnant. I’m not going to put her through that kind of stress,” Zimmerman said.