Zimmerman Fate Following Acquittal Uncertain

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -

After a year and a half of living as a hermit, George Zimmerman emerged from a Florida courthouse a free man, cleared of all charges in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

His brother said the former neighborhood-watch volunteer was still processing the reality that he wouldn’t serve prison time for the killing, which Zimmerman, 29, has maintained was an act of self-defense.

However, with many critics angry over his acquittal, his freedom may be limited.

“He’s going to be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life,” Robert Zimmerman Jr. said during an interview on CNN.

The Department of Justice could file criminal civil-rights charges, and Zimmerman may face civil lawsuits. He might make a lot of money by writing a book or from a lawsuit he brought against a major network last year.

For the moment, however, veteran publicists say Zimmerman really has only one option available: to hide.

The six-member jury’s not-guilty verdict late Saturday prompted a wave of anger among civil-rights leaders and others. Image handlers say Zimmerman needs to take that anger, and potential death threats, seriously.