Judge denies restraining order request against George Zimmerman
Zimmerman accused of saying victim was 'on his way to the inside of a gator'
SANFORD, Fla. – A Seminole County judge on Monday denied a private investigator's request for a restraining order against George Zimmerman, citing a lack of evidence of stalking or violence.
Private investigator Dennis Warren said he reached out to Zimmerman about appearing in a documentary, and Zimmerman responded with about 200 calls, text messages and emails.
Investigators said some of the messages threatened Warren and his family.
“Somebody needs to warn Mrs. Warren because I’m coming over and I’m bringing hell with me,” Warren quoted Zimmerman as saying in an email.
According to Seminole County sheriff's deputies, Zimmerman, who was acquitted of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, sent one message that said Warren was "on his way to the inside of a gator."
Deputies said Zimmerman phoned Warren 55 times, left 36 voicemails, texted 67 times and sent 27 emails in a nine-day span.
During Monday's court hearing, Warren further detailed the phone calls and messages he said Zimmerman left him. Many of the voicemails, Warren said, featured sound effects from what sounded like horror movies that included ticking noises and people screaming.
Seminole County detective Clifford Dwayne Harris testified on Warren's behalf, also noting that he told Warren to text Zimmerman asking him to cease communication and he told Warren that Zimmerman could potentially try to circumvent the legal process if Warren filed an injunction before criminal charges were filed.
The request for an injunction was filed in March -- on the same day authorities said they were initiating the process of filing criminal charges against Zimmerman -- although the alleged harassing messages stopped toward the end of December, officials said.
Harris said that between December and now, patrols have been stepped up in Warren's neighborhood and Warren has added additional security measures to his home, but he's still worried about the safety of himself and his family.
“He stayed vocal about his concerns throughout the process,” Harris said.
Judge Jerri Collins said that while Zimmerman's alleged behavior did seem "bizarre," it didn't rise to the level of repeated acts of stalking or violence. The hearing lasted about an hour before she denied the request for an injunction.
Zimmerman was not in court Monday, but he is due for an arraignment later this month.
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