Friend who helped Zimmerman hide from public speaks out - FOX 13 News

Friend who helped Zimmerman hide from public speaks out

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

The best friend of George Zimmerman is speaking out about why he decided to help him hide out. This happens as he releases his new book about George Zimmerman.

Mark Osterman says, Zimmerman and his wife Shellie stayed in his Lake Mary town home for one month. He said he invited them to stay there, the day after Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

"He wore sunglasses and a hat just in case someone would recognize him because he was everywhere in the media." Osterman just wrote a book about the experience. It's called Defending Our Friend the Most Hated Man In America.

"When groups such as The New Black Panthers and other threats against George started coming to the surface, I assured him leaving would be more dangerous for him," Osterman said. Osterman who is in law enforcement says Zimmerman rarely went outside. "Take his dog for a walk, but it was usually 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., 12 a.m. at night. That was the only time he was leaving the house," he said about George Zimmerman's time outdoors.

He says Zimmerman told him, his memory was hazy right after Trayon Martin punched him. "With his broken nose, he says he doesn't remember a few seconds after that injury, but he did end up on his back and he did realize Trayvon was on top of him. It seemed to me the first process of dying. He said I thought this is what it feels like when you're going to die. Everything blacked out and he started to see a tunnel."

 Osterman said before the incident ever happened, he was the one who help Zimmerman pick out the gun that fired the fatal shot. It turns out the gun didn't have a safety on it. "You don't have an external safety that could get in the way of saving your life," he said.

 During an appearance on the Dr Phil Show, Trayvon Martin's step mother accused Osterman of being proud of picking out the gun that killed her step son. Osterman defended those claims by saying, "It didn't feel appropriate to get into a back and fourth dialogue with this woman who lost her son. Obviously I would not be proud of the fact that George and I picked out a firearm that was used in a fatal shooting."

Even after that gun was seized by authorities, Osterman decided to give his friend another handgun, while he stayed in Jacksonville. "It's my firearm it's mine. He was given his concealed weapons permit back because he wasn't charged with anything and he's still a citizen with a permit and no crime had been committed and he needed to borrow a firearm. He wanted to keep it in an end table in his bed, just in case someone found out where he was.

The authorities have secured that firearm I'll probably get it back after," Osterman said.

Shortly after that, Zimmerman was charged with 2nd degree murder. Despite the murder charge, Osterman wants everyone to know that his friend is not a murderer.

"For someone to believe that his intentions were for him to get out of the vehicle and hunt to commit murder, while you're on the phone with police, knowing a police officer is coming doesn't seem very realistic," he said. As for the Stand Your Ground Defense Zimmerman's claiming, Osterman says he did not coach Zimmerman on what to say to investigators about the Stand Your Ground defense.

"He went through training himself to get the concealed weapons permit and all that training and knowledge (of Stand Your Ground) was shared through that with him."

Osterman says there was no conspiracy to let Zimmerman go free. "Its kind of insulting also to think that the detectives investigating the crime, the Chief of Police, possibly the Mayor, possibly the local State Attorney, that they were all going to get together just to exonerate George Zimmerman. I didn't think that was realistic at all," Osterman said.

Osterman says he's known Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee for years, but they were not close, "Billy Lee had no idea I was involved at all and he wouldn't know who I was if we were standing next to each other in a grocery store line."

He says Lee should not have been fired. "To blame him for what was going on in the case was so unfortunate."

As far as the claims that George Zimmerman is racist, Osterman claimed Zimmerman has many friends of different races. "Sometimes George would call me his token white friend because he had so many African American friends whom he loved dearly and they loved him dearly."

 Meanwhile, Osterman defends his Dr. Phil show interview saying he didn't go on the show for money. "I was not paid, I'm not doing this for the money, I'm doing this to make sure George is looked at as a person other than who he's been made out to be."

 

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