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Thursday, July 19, 2018

It will be astonishing if George Zimmerman is convicted of second-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Not that Zimmerman was right to the pull the trigger, but that particular charge will be extremely difficult to prove. Why Special Prosecutor Angela Corey didn’t file for manslaughter instead has lots of smart lawyers scratching their heads.

Perhaps it’s a strategic move aimed at nudging Zimmerman toward a plea bargain, but in the meantime her decision only serves to raise expectations among the many — outraged and grieving — who’d been calling for Zimmerman’s arrest.

True, the lethal confrontation between the neighborhood crime-watch patroller and the Miami Gardens teen would never have occurred if Zimmerman hadn’t been tailing Martin through that gated townhouse community in Sanford.

There’s no law against walking at night while black, or running at night while black.

Or wearing a hoodie at night while black.

But Zimmerman was sure the kid was up to “no good,” and he made a 911 call that stands as a tragic foreshadowing of what was to come.

“These a——- always get away,” he said at one point, an edge of exasperation in his tone.

He ignored the police operator’s advice to stop following Martin, and on the tape he can clearly be heard hastening his pursuit. It turned out that the teen was merely returning to the home of his father’s girlfriend after a trip to a nearby store.

To win a conviction for second-degree murder, however, prosecutors must convince a six-member jury that Zimmerman acted in a manner that was “evincing a depraved mind.”

Suspicion, unfounded or not, isn’t inherently malicious. Nor is reckless judgment a sure sign of mental depravity.