“George Zimmerman’s transformation into the modern day O.J. Simpson is complete,” @echoK tweeted, in one of dozens of tweets comparing the two men.
Like O.J. before him, Zimmerman was acquitted after a televised murder trial that riveted America and became daily fodder for cable news. Zimmerman also seems to be on the verge of self-destructing, as Simpson eventually did after his 1995 acquittal.
You’d think Zimmerman would have kept a low profile after getting so much awful press following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. But he’s been in the news several times since his trial. He got two speeding tickets. He took a private tour of a gun manufacturer that made the weapon he used to kill Martin.
Now there’s audio of from his estranged wife’s 911 call in which Shellie Zimmerman sounds absolutely terrified of her husband. (She’s not pressing charges, though.)
Simpson also got made the news after he was cleared of killing his ex-wife and her friend in 1995, but it took a few years for him to do so. The first major sign that he was unravelling was a 1998 Esquire interview in which he said hypothetically that if he had killed Nicole it would have been because he “loved her very much.”
Then in 2007, Simpson wrote a “hypothetical confession” called “If I Did It.” Not long after that, he was arrested for bursting into a $US35-a-night hotel room in Las Vegas and stealing O.J. sports memorabilia. Nobody knows for sure why Simpson seemed to lose it after his not-guilty verdict, or why Zimmerman seems to be losing it now.
Both men endured stressful trials. Both may be grappling with guilt. And both had histories of allegedly abusing the women in their lives, The Nation’s Salamishah Tillet has pointed out. Simpson allegedly stalked Nicole Brown Simpson, and Zimmerman’s ex-fiancé filed for a restraining order against him.
It’s possible that Zimmerman, like Simpson, may have always had an explosive temper — now he just has a national spotlight on him. For his part, Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara says Monday’s 911 call was a miscommunication that stemmed from the couple trying to divide up their stuff, according to ABC. ABC reported that police never found a gun involved with the incident on Monday.
In any event, it’s unlikely at this point that Zimmerman will stay out of the news.
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