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George Zimmerman's Father Details Defense in First TV Interview Since Trayvon Martin Shooting


"Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, 'You're going to die now,' or 'You're going to die tonight.'"

Robert Zimmerman, the father of George Zimmerman, said in an interview Wednesday that Trayvon Martin beat his son and threatened his life on the night Martin was shot.

In his first television interview since his son shot and killed the unarmed Florida teenager, 64-year-old Robert Zimmerman told Orlando Fox affiliate WOFL-TV, "It's my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him."

Robert Zimmerman spoke to WOFL on the condition that his face not be shown because he said his family has received thousands of death threats.

He said his son was not following Martin, as has been widely claimed, but that he kept walking in order to find the address of his location for police.

"[George] called the non-emergency number first, and they asked him where he was, because he was at the rear of the town houses and there was no street sign," Robert Zimmerman said.

During that time, he said, George Zimmerman lost sight of Martin.

"He went to the next street, realized where he was and was walking to his vehicle. It's my understanding, at that point, Trayvon Martin walked up to him and asked him, 'Do you have a f--king problem?' George said, 'No, I don't have a problem,' and started to reach for his cell phone. At that point, he [Martin] was punching him in the nose, his nose was broken and he was knocked to the concrete."

Robert Zimmerman said his son was beaten for nearly a minute, after which he tried to get his head off the concrete and move with Martin on him onto the grass.

"In doing so his firearm was shown, Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, 'You're going to die now,' or 'You're going to die tonight,'" Robert Zimmerman said.

Martin "continued to beat George, and at some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did," he said.

As for the two gunshot-like noises and screaming that can be heard on the 911 recordings, Robert Zimmerman said one of the sounds is a door closing, supported by the fact there there was only one bullet missing from his son's gun.

He said the screaming is his son, not Martin.

"All of our family, everyone that knows George, knows absolutely that that is George screaming," he said. "There's no doubt in anyone's mind."

Of the account that Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend at the time of the incident and said he was concerned he was being followed, Robert Zimmerman said he doesn't believe it.

"I don't believe that happened. I don't believe she was on the phone with him, and I find it very strange with the publicity involved -- that all of a sudden, after three weeks, someone would remember that they were on the phone," Robert Zimmerman said.

"I'm sorry for all the hate that's going around from their attorneys from everyone involved. They're just making up things that are not try about George. How he's being portrayed is an absolute lie," Robert Zimmerman said.

Asked how his son has been handling the past several weeks, Robert Zimmerman said he's "not dealing with it well."

"I don't know if his injuries are physical or mental or -- he's not in good shape," he said.

Robert Zimmerman, a former magistrate judge and a Vietnam War veteran, described his family's situation as "unimaginable."

"Tough was being in Vietnam and other things. This is way beyond anything I can imagine," he said.

Watch the full 19-min. interview below:

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