George Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, is facing perjury charges for lying under oath about money he raised online, but bank records and jail phone calls released Monday show her husband called the shots behind an elaborate, if sloppy, scheme to hide money.
The records also show the second-degree murder charge was a big money-maker for Zimmerman: The day after his arrest, he transferred more than $75,000 in donations to his account in a single day. He used at least $10,000 of it to pay off credit card and other bills, the bank records show.
"Ah man, that feels good," he said to his wife in a recorded phone call the day after his arrest. "That there are people in America that care."
His wife told him so many contributions arrived to his online PayPal site requesting donations on the day of his arrest that the site kept crashing.
"People were just trying to give you, you know, words of support and kindness," Shellie Zimmerman said.
"Good. Wow, that is awesome," he said.
Later he tells her: "I'm so happy to know that you're gonna be OK."
His wife assures him, "After this, is all over, you're gonna be able to just, have a great life."
Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder charge for the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Miami Gardens, Fla., teenager. Zimmerman claims that the teen punched him in an unprovoked attack. His nose broken and head slightly wounded, Zimmerman shot Trayvon once in the chest as the two wrestled on the grass.
For some, the case quickly became a symbol of the perils of racial profiling. For others, it epitomized the media's rush to judgment.
His arrest came about three days after he set up a website that sought donations. Records show the American public offered such an outpouring of support that his credit union account, which had a $5 balance April 1, swelled 27 days later to $128,898. The balance ballooned even after the couple paid off credit cards and frantically transferred funds out of the account. Zimmerman ultimately gave the balance to his defense attorney to create a trust in his name.
On six phone calls Zimmerman made to his wife from jail, he can be heard giving his wife repeated step-by-step instructions on changing the password and security questions to his online donations account. They talk in simple code, referring to PayPal as "Peter Pan."
Shellie Zimmerman was arrested last week on a felony charge of lying on the stand during her husband's bond hearing April 20.
Zimmerman had been granted a $150,000 bond, but it was revoked June 1 when prosecutors presented evidence of the ploy to hide money.