More than half a year after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of teen Trayvon Martin, the former Florida neighborhood watchman said that he is in deep debt and under constant threats to his life.
His TV interviews this week is the first time the son of a Peruvian immigrant mom and American dad spoke since being acquitted of murder last year.
Zimmerman, in an interview with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, said that he says he still gets death threats.
"I have a lot of people saying that, you know, they guarantee that they're going to kill me and I'll never be a free man," he said. "I realize that they don't know me. They know who I was portrayed to be."
Zimmerman said he is not the racist that he was widely portrayed as being following the controversial murder trial.
He noted that he was raised in a Peruvian family and has black relatives.
"Before the trial, during and after, I've learned that the majority of people, when they sit down with me one-on-one or with my family, they get a completely different perspective on me," he told CNN.
He said that the final judge of what happened that night will be "God."
"I know that ultimately, he's the only judge that I have to answer to,” he said. “He knows what happened. I know what happened. So I'd leave it up to him."
Zimmerman's first interview was actually granted to Spanish-language channel Univision, which aired it on Sunday.
He said to Univision that he has more than $2 million in debt and that he is jobless. He recently made headlines when he sold a painting he created on eBay for more than $100,000.
"To be honest, I was hoping to be able to provide a decent lifestyle for my family," he said.
Zimmerman spoke fluent Spanish in his Univision interview.
Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, in Sanford in 2012.
He was acquitted of second-degree murder in July 2013. He was prosecuted by Jacksonville's State Attorney Angela Corey.
Zimmerman said he believed Martin was acting suspicious. Martin and Zimmerman got into a fight and Zimmerman said he thought Martin was reaching for his gun. Authorities didn't arrest Zimmerman for more than a month after the shooting.
He said he hopes to become an attorney and improve a system he saw as deeply flawed while dealing with it from the inside.
"I'd like to professionally ... continue my education and hopefully become an attorney," he said. "I think that's the best way to stop the miscarriage of justice that happened to me from happening to somebody else. I don't think it should ever happen to anyone ever again, not one person."
He defended his actions the night of the shooting, stressing that it was done in self-defense.
He told Univision that he felt that Martin, who he says caught a glimpse of his gun, would have killed him if he had not shot him.
He said he was the victim of a witch-hunt by the "the government, the President, the attorney general."