Once the defense rested, I decided to open up the page for discussion. Feel free to comment here or on the link above. We've got a good discussion going over there.
"First, I'm not for or against George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin. I'm for justice.
Second, is he guilty of the 2nd Degree Murder charge? 2DM is with “depraved mind” and with “ill-will, spite and hatred.” Depraved mind according to Florida law is "The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree."
Third, is he guilty of Manslaughter, the possible lesser charge? Florida defines Manslaughter as "The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder, according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter, a felony of the second degree."
Fourth, has the Prosecution proved that Zimmerman killed Martin with depraved mind? Zimmerman seems to be an overzealous wanna-be police officer who should have used common sense and good judgment, but clearly did not. However, "evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life?" I don't see it, not in this case and not in Zimmerman's history.
Fifth, has the Prosecution proved manslaughter? Was he culpably negligent? Without lawful justification? Very possibly. We could say he was negligent the moment he ignored the 911 Operator's suggestion and chose to pursue Trayvon Martin on his own. With all of his civilian training with firearms and his very limited knowledge of law enforcement through friends and classes, he had to have known the dangers of pursuing someone...in the rain...at night...alone...and without provocation. He should've been able to reasonably assume that when the 911 operator suggested he not pursue, that there was a reason for it.
In regards to 2DM, I think the prosecution has not successfully proved this. I do think the defense has done a good job of hammering away at the prosecution's 2DM case and creating "reasonable doubt." I just don't see the "depraved mind" here.
What about Manslaughter? I think the prosecution has made its case here.
The thing that works against George Zimmerman and could seal a conviction of the lesser charge is that HE pursued Trayvon Martin. HE put these events into motion. It's a reasonable assumption that Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman about following him, and told him to back off (wouldn't you or I do that?) After all Trayvon would have likely assumed Zimmerman was not a police officer given Zimmerman never identified himself as one, so what right would he have to follow him in the first place? Especially when Trayvon had done nothing wrong! Eventually during the confrontation, words and shoves were exchanged and then the fight ensued. It can also be assumed Trayvon was beating the piss out of Zimmerman and that's when he reached for his gun. The rest is history.
Now, is it possible that Zimmerman had no choice but to shoot Trayvon Martin in self defense? Sure, I mean we'll never really know who threw the first punch. But...Zimmerman never would have had to use his gun in the first place if he hadn't pursued Trayvon Martin and caused a confrontation. So, was Zimmerman justified in shooting the person HE chose to confront? Especially when he didn't have to because the police were already on their way? It would appear that Zimmerman was the aggressor, considering he initiated the pursuit of Trayvon Martin and not the other way around.
So...is it still self defense?
If I'm on the jury, that's what I'm asking myself."