SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - A Florida judge agreed to let George Zimmerman serve probation for a year after the former neighborhood watch leader's attorney entered a no contest plea to resolve a misdemeanor charge of stalking a private investigator.
Under a no contest plea, a defendant doesn't admit guilt, and a conviction is withheld if the conditions of the plea are met. Seminole County Judge Mark Herr admonished Zimmerman, who wasn't at the courthouse during Tuesday's hearing.
"I'm just hoping that Mr. Zimmerman has gotten the message that words do matter, and it will stop, and he will stay out of the limelight and go do whatever he wants to do in life and leave people alone," Judge Herr said.
Zimmerman was accused of sending threatening messages to a private investigator who had contacted him about a documentary series on Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. The documentary was produced by rapper Jay-Z.
"I received a total of 185 phone calls, emails, text messages with credible threats to harm me and my family," said Dennis Warren.
Zimmerman said Warren and the production company were harassing his family, so he told them to stay away. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty after being charged with misdemeanor stalking earlier this year.
"Stop breaking the law and stop threatening people, because you're probably going to get hurt one day," said Warren, who believes Zimmerman didn't get the sentence he deserved.
Since Zimmerman's acquittal in Martin's death, he has had several run-ins with the law. The judge expressed hope that Zimmerman would avoid making future appearances at the Seminole County Courthouse.
"If I never hear the name George Zimmerman again in Seminole County we'll all be fine," Judge Herr said.
Under the terms of probation, Zimmerman must call in by phone on Thursdays and he cannot have any weapons on him, but he is not required to surrender any guns to authorities. The judge also said Zimmerman needs to stay away from Warren.
"To never have contact with him for the rest of his life," he said.