A Dr. Phil Exclusive: Friends of George Zimmerman -- “The Most Hated Man in America” -- Speak Out

September 11, 2012

The shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin left many in the nation outraged and the suspect, George Zimmerman, labeled “The Most Hated Man in America” by some, and a racist by others. In a Dr. Phil exclusive, Zimmerman’s best friends, Mark and Sondra Osterman — who kept George secretly hidden away for more than a month before his arrest — speak out about the controversy. Do they believe George did the right thing by opening fire? And, Trayvon’s stepmom, Alicia, breaks her silence for the first time.





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Trayvon MartinGeorge ZimmermanMark OstermanSondra OstermanGeorge's Injuries

Gun-Toting Vigilante?

Mark and Sondra Osterman have known George Zimmerman for six years, and they say they want to show the world the George they know. “George had pure ideals, a nobility of character that I admired. I kind of wanted to be like him," Mark says. “When I first heard that George had shot someone else, I was extremely shocked. I know that it would have been the absolute last resort."

Even with public opinion saying George belonged in jail, Mark was determined to protect his friend — even if it meant putting his own family in danger. "George had a bounty placed on his life, dead or alive, for $10,000, issued by the New Black Panthers. George wanted to leave to protect us. I advised him that if someone came to my front door, they wouldn’t be dealing with a firearms apprentice any longer. They better come well-rested and be ready. We were going to be in this boat together. That’s what brothers do. I am 100 percent convinced that George Zimmerman is completely innocent. He stood his ground, and he had every right to do so,” Mark says.


How are Mark and Sondra so convinced that George acted appropriately when they were not with him during the incident?

When George got out of his car right before the shooting, was he looking for a street sign, was he trying to keep his eye on Trayvon, or was he attempting to confront the teen?


Mark and Sondra say George is a sweet and loving man. But, is he also a racist? Dr. Phil reviews George’s run-ins with the law and asks the couple to square those actions with the George they describe. 


Does Mark believe George had to pull the trigger?


“If he had this to do over again, would you advise him differently?”



Breaking Her Silence

Trayvon’s stepmom, Alicia, who was with Trayvon's dad for 14 years, breaks her silence for the first time. “Trayvon was a sweet boy, a kind, gentle person, and for him to hurt someone, never," she says. Tune-in to watch as she confronts Mark and Sondra.


Speak Up!

Where do you stand? Do you believe Zimmerman shot Trayvon in self-defense? Should he be convicted of second-degree murder?

Vote now!

Weigh in with your thoughts.

The Dr. Phil show reached out to George Zimmerman and his attorney and invited them to participate in the show. They declined and said they had no comment at this time.

Update: Trayvon's Parents, Zimmerman's Best Friend: The Verdict Reaction