LAKE MARY, Fla. – The man accused of firing a gun into George Zimmerman's truck was charged with attempted second-degree murder on Thursday.
Matthew Apperson turned himself in to authorities in May and was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and firing a deadly missile into an occupied conveyance.
On Thursday, the state attorney's office filed formal charges and replaced the recommended aggravated battery charge with attempted second-degree murder charge. This means, if convicted, the maximum sentence would be 30 years instead of 15. Attorneys for both Zimmerman and Apperson said the move was not surprising.
Local 6 broke the news to George Zimmerman's attorney, Don West.
"George told me he's very happy about the more serious charge," said Don West, Zimmerman's attorney. "It means, I think, that George Zimmerman has more credibility, that George Zimmerman all along was followed and shot at," continued West. "One step at a time, and this was a big step today."
Apperson is represented by Michael LaFay of Nejame Law.
"The prosecutors are always going to have tunnel vision on their side of the fence," LaFay said.
He said it was a "nonevent."
"My reaction has got to be a pronounced shrug about the whole thing. It really doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the facts on the ground," LaFay said.
"Our law enforcement community and the State Attorney's Office works vigorously to ensure people may travel our busy streets, going about their business, without fear. Every resident and visitor to Seminole County deserves this freedom," said State Attorney Phil Archer in a release.
A judge ruled last month that Apperson would have to wear GPS monitoring.
Police wrote in an arrest report that Apperson appeared to have a "fixation" with Zimmerman and that Apperson had recently been admitted to a mental institution.
Zimmerman wasn't hit by the bullet, but he was hit by glass and shrapnel. He was checked out at a hospital and released a short time later.
Apperson said he shot at Zimmerman's SUV out of a fear for his life after Zimmerman waved a gun at him, according to police. Zimmerman denies the claim.
Apperson's arraignment will be June 23.
Zimmerman was acquitted of murder two years ago for fatally shooting unarmed teen Trayvon Martin