George Zimmerman, the Florida man acquitted last year of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin, says he's homeless, jobless and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Zimmerman, 30, made the comments in an interview screened by Spanish-language television network Univision, 10 days before the second anniversary of the shooting.
Zimmerman was the neighbourhood watch volunteer who encountered the unarmed 17-year-old at a gated community in Sanford, in the southern US state. Zimmerman said he suspected Martin might have been responsible for a string of break-ins. Zimmerman shot the teenager during a confrontation, later saying that he did so in self-defence.
"In my mind and between God and me, I know that if I didn't act, act the way I did, I wouldn't be here," he says in the interview.
"I mean, he wasn't playing around," Zimmerman says at another point.
Zimmerman said he never realised that Martin was unarmed, but that he was clearly trying to grab the gun from him. He expressed no regrets about the shooting.
Zimmerman said he owed US$2.5 million to his lawyers, Mark O'Mara and Don West. He has raised more than U$300,000 from online donors.
He described himself as "a good brother, a good son, a good grandson, a good friend". He would like everyone to give "the benefit of the doubt like I do, and want to forgive, want to go on with their own lives".
"I'm prepared for the worst, and the worst part is that this could go on for my whole life. But I'm hopeful that it will start to decrease," he said.