The bills are mounting for George Zimmerman’s mom and dad and they’re calling on donors for help.
The parents of Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, have established an online fund to help pay their living expenses. On the recently-launched donation site, Zimmerman’s dad, Robert, writes about his medical bills and how he and his wife, Gladys, have been on the move since the February shooting.
“We fully realize that the peaceful, secure life we once knew is now just a memory,” Robert writes. “Therefore, I am providing a link for those supporters who would like to leave us a personal message or contribute to our greatly increased living expenses, and our eventual relocation.”
Before retiring, Robert served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and Gladys was a physical education teacher before working at a court in Virginia, according to the site. The two initially asked only for prayers after the shooting and their son's arrest, but now say that they need monetary support.
According to the site, Robert is suffering from numerous health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and heart problems. After receiving a number of death threats, the Zimmermans say they have also been forced to pay to frequently relocate.
“Gladys and I have planned and worked hard our entire married life (36 years) in order that someday we would be able to spend some quality, peaceful time together in our retirement years,” Robert writes. “Our dreams ended on February 26th.”
The launch of robertandgladys.com comes after the Zimmermans' son established his own successful fundraising site, which got him into some serious trouble in June.
George Zimmerman launched therealgeorgezimmerman.com in April to help pay his legal expenses. He and his wife, Shellie, later lied to the court about how much money Zimmerman had collected from donors, The Huffington Post reported.
Zimmerman's bond was revoked, and he was sent back to jail in June, once prosecutors discovered he had concealed the collection of more than $200,000 from supporters. His bond was then set at $1 million, according to the Associated Press. Shellie Zimmerman recently pleaded not guilty to perjury charges.
"This court was led to believe they didn't have a single penny," Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said of the Zimmermans, according to HuffPost. "It was misleading, and I don't know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie."
While George Zimmerman’s parents' primary objective is to raise money, they’ve also used their website as an opportunity to try and vindicate their son.
Robert writes that the word “hate” was never used in the family's home and says George served as a mentor for African-American kids, donated blood and worked at a men's homeless shelter. Robert acknowledges that the life they once led will likely never be restored.
“Nothing can ever return us to the family we were just a few short months ago,”he writes. “What Gladys and I have planned and worked for our entire life now will never be.”