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Sentence for gunman who fired at George Zimmerman in on-road confrontation

George Zimmerman looks at the jury as he testifies in a Seminole County courtroom Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. in Matthew Apperson’s second-degree attempted murder trial.

Red Huber, AP

SANFORD, Fla. -- A Florida man who shot at George Zimmerman’s vehicle during an on-road confrontation has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that at the sentencing hearing Monday morning, Zimmerman said 38-year-old Matthew Apperson showed no regard for human life during the May 2015 confrontation, and even seemed joyful because he mistakenly thought he’d killed Zimmerman.

A witness told Crimesider after the incident that Apperson had pulled into the parking lot of the commercial complex where he works, telling him, “Please call 911, I just shot George Zimmerman!”

Zimmerman testified last month that he was driving to a doctor’s appointment when he noticed he was being pursued by a vehicle whose driver later pulled up, exchanged words and fired one gunshot at him that missed.

Zimmerman is the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of second-degree murder after fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.

There had apparently been an ongoing dispute between Apperson and Zimmerman. Apperson alleged in September 2014 that Zimmerman threatened him in a road-rage encounter, but did not press charges at the time.

Apperson was convicted by a Seminole County jury last month of attempted second-degree murder, armed aggravated assault and shooting into a vehicle. Apperson testified at trial that he acted in self-defense after Zimmerman flashed a gun. Zimmerman disputed that.