Florida officials on Friday dropped aggravated-assault charges against George Zimmerman after an ex-girlfriend recanted her story that he threw a wine bottle at her, ending the latest brush with the law for the man who was acquitted of fatally shooting an unarmed teenager.
The case is the third involving Zimmerman’s relations with women since the former neighborhood watch volunteer was acquitted in July 2013 in the killing of Trayvon Martin the year before in Sanford, Fla.
Zimmerman, 31, was arrested Jan. 9 in Lake Mary, Fla., after his girlfriend, Brittany Brunelle, told authorities that he had thrown a wine bottle at her. Zimmerman denied throwing the bottle and disputed her claim that he destroyed her cellphone.
Florida State Atty. Phil Archer said he was dropping the case after Brunelle made it clear that she didn’t want to cooperate and that there were no other eyewitnesses in the case.
Zimmerman rose to national notoriety after his fatal confrontation with Martin on Feb. 26, 2012. The shooting set off a debate on race and guns in the United States.
In September 2013, Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared.
She initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were filed because of lack of evidence.
Two months after that incident, Zimmerman was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of their house.
Scheibe later decided not to cooperate, so authorities dropped the case.
Times staff writer Samantha Masunaga contributed to this report.