FLORIDA – At age 49, Junior Alexander Guy got his first cell phone last month. The calls started immediately.
Strangers called at all hours. Some were insulting. Others angry. Sometimes, they threatened him.
“You deserve to die!”
By Day 2 he figured out what was going on: T-Mobile had given him the phone number formerly used by George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in February.
The number —407-435-2400 — was the one Zimmerman spelled out to a police dispatcher in a recorded call the night of the shooting that has since been widely circulated by news organizations and is available on the Internet.
Guy, who works at an Orlando wastewater plant, said his phone rang around the clock.
“At 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock in the morning I kept getting these,” he said.
He estimates he received 70 threatening calls.
He has moved out of his home and relocated his mother, who had lived with him, to a different location, he said.
“I was not only afraid for my life, I was afraid for my mother’s,” he said.
He got the phone May 7. On May 16, he turned the phone over to Orlando lawyer Robert Trimble. Since then, the phone has been in Trimble’s safe.
The lawyer has asked T-Mobile to pay damages. He would not say how much.
T-Mobile has said no, according to its top lawyer, Aram Meade.
“They’re not looking to provide my client any compensation for what they’ve exposed him to,” Trimble complained.
Meade said his company had offered to change the number, something that happened Thursday, the same day Trimble requested it.
Also Thursday, the company retired the number, said Glenn Zaccara, a company spokesman. And it provided an account credit and waived an early termination fee, he wrote in an email.
Guy had never had a cell phone, in part, because he got out of prison last year after serving 19 years on a cocaine trafficking charge. It was his third time in state prison, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.
Criminal history or no criminal history, Trimble said, Guy was given Zimmerman’s old phone number, and evidence supports his claim that he was being pummeled by harassing calls.
“I’m asking them for a fair and reasonable sum,” Trimble said.
The 28-year-old Zimmerman is currently in the Seminole County Jail, awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge.