The 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer — who prosecutors labelled a “wannabe cop”– has told friends that he may pursue the legal field “to help other people like me,” according to friend Leanne Benjamin, who testified on Zimmerman’s behalf.
“He sees it as a potential path forward to help other people like himself,” Benjamin told Reuters. Zimmerman had been studying for an associate’s degree in general studies at Seminole State College at the time of the 2012 shooting, but was kicked out “due to the highly charged and high-profile controversy,” according to a school statement, soon after the shooting gained national attention.
“He wanted to be a cop for awhile, but he’s talked about going to law school,” Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara told Reuters. He added, “I will not be surprised if he ends up in criminal law … His dad was a judge, and he wants to be a prosecutor or a lawyer.”
It may take a while before Zimmerman could attend law school, however. While he cannot be retried on state murder charges in the case, Trayvon Martin’s family has talked about waging a wrongful death suit against Zimmerman, which could financially cripple him if found liable for the teen’s death. What’s more, the Justice Department is looking at possible charges of civil rights violations against Zimmerman, which could still send him to jail if found guilty.
Zimmerman lives under fear for his life as death threats have been hurled at him since the beginning of his trial. He wears a bulletproof vest and mask when he goes out in public.