KONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Philip Howard Zimmerman made an initial court appearance in Kona Thursday. The 46 year-old from Bellevue, Wash., is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Susan Brockert, 44, also of Bellevue.
Court documents released by the Hawaii County prosecutor's office paint a picture of a relationship marked by violence and threats. A hearing is scheduled next Tuesday in Waimea District Court on whether Zimmerman should be held without bail. His current bail is $350,000.
The couple was sharing a room at the Fairmont Orchid Resort on the Kohala Coast. Police said late Monday night, a hotel staffer saw Zimmerman hitting Brockert in the head with an object, which was later identified as a piece of granite.
Six months ago, Brockert filed for a restraining order against Zimmerman, but she never showed up for court, and so the order was not granted.
In Bellevue, Zimmerman's ex-wife, Amy, told KIRO-TV that she was shocked to learn that Brockert had been killed.
"I feel so sorry for her family. She has two kids," Amy Zimmerman said.
The Zimmermans were married for 21 years. Amy Zimmerman says her former husband used meth and abused her.
"I left the house and never went back," she said.
Howard Zimmerman was on probation in Washington state for domestic violence and cyberstalking, both misdemeanors.
The Bellevue Police Department also has an extensive history with Zimmerman. A e-mail from the department to Big Island prosecutors said Zimmerman has threatened his ex-wife, as well as the Bellevue City Council, the police chief and a lead police detective.
Zimmerman also sent threatening e-mails to his ex-wife and to Brockert after they provided information against him in a trial. In one of the e-mails, Zimmerman wrote, "Keep your mouth shut or I will rip your throat out. I mean it."
"I wish Susan would have followed through with her restraining order," Amy Zimmerman said. "I wish she would have never let him back into her life."
Instead, in April, Zimmerman wrote on his Facebook page, "More Info Susan is getting a (sic) all expense paid trip to Hawii (sic) from her company as her 15 year present for working there. She can take one guest. Guess who it is? Yes, me!"
Also on his Facebook page, Zimmerman has only one friend: Susan Brockert.