George Zimmerman Urged Wife to Buy Bulletproof Vest in Jailhouse Calls

The taped jailhouse conversations reveal Zimmerman's concern for her safety.

ByABC News
June 18, 2012, 11:55 AM

MIAMI June 18, 2012— -- George Zimmerman in a jailhouse phone call urged his wife to buy herself a bullet proof vest shortly after he was arrested in the shooting death teenager Trayvon Martin.

"As uncomfortable as it is, I want you wearing one," Zimmerman told his wife Shellie.

Zimmerman's urging came as he was receiving death threats and his Sanford, Fla., neighborhood as well as much of the country was outraged by the shooting of the unarmed Florida teenager.

The conversation was among a series of taped jailhouse phone calls between Zimmerman and his wife that were released today.

In the calls, which were used to revoke Zimmerman's bond while landing his wife briefly behind bars for perjury, the couple discusses transferring money between bank accounts, paying off bills, and George Zimmerman's concern for safety.

Shellie Zimmerman was so intent on remaining hidden that she testified at a bail hearing for her husband by speaker phone.

Zimmerman, who was wearing a vest when he was released on bond, also discusses a possible escape route and renting two cars to throw off the media, possibly driving into a hotel with an attached garage or heading to an airport to fly to "heaven."

In one conversation as the two are planning a possible escape route if he receives bail, Zimmerman talks about going to a hotel like the Western he stayed at in Tampa, and that if he is in a car he could wear "his hoodie" and lie down as they are driving away.

The phone calls were cited when prosecutors charged Shellie Zimmerman with perjury for claiming the couple were indigent when they were aware that they had $135,000 available from website donations.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara has said repeatedly that the couple was not deceptively trying to withhold information from the courts, but were concerned for their safety.

The couple show their affection for each other throughout the calls, and Zimmerman warns his wife repeatedly to stay safe.

"Just be smart when you leave, honey ... If something is even questionable, don't go home," he warns her.

The tapes also shed some clues about the whereabouts of Zimmerman and his wife. In one call, his wife says she passed by the courthouse and that it was full of news vans.

At their heart though, the taped conversations detail the steps the couple were undertaking in the days leading up to Zimmerman's bond hearing that would grant his wife greater access to the funds collected through the website.

The site, set up before Zimmerman's arrest as a way for him to speak to the public while soliciting legal funds from the public, resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being poured into their bank accounts. But they were cautious in their conversations, aware that they were being recorded.

Shellie Zimmerman: "Can I put you on speaker phone?"

George Zimmerman: "Yes, please, but remember, no, no personal information."

Shellie Zimmerman: "Okay…I'm putting you on speaker phone, but we're not going to say the name of the institution or your name or any personal information recorded."

In two of the six conversations which lasted an average of 15 minutes each, Shellie Zimmerman was inside a credit union resetting passwords with his sister and a bank official nearby, so that his wife could transfer "10" between accounts. The prosecution alleges that "$10" stood for $10,000.

In an earlier call he advises his wife to take out $10 to keep in her pocket and put another $10 in the box. Zimmerman also tells his wife to pay off all but two of their bills, and in another conversation expresses his hesitancy to use a large amount of the money for bail if it is set high.

Zimmerman also comments on the large outpouring of support from the public and that they need to start "vocalizing themselves." He tells her about his difficulty taking showers initially and his gratefulness towards the chaplains in the jail.

Zimmermans next bond hearing is scheduled for June 29.