More than a few eyebrows were raised Wednesday when Hispanic special prosecutor Angela Corey announced her decision to charge George Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder in the Trayvon Martin murder case.
In a spectacle of a press conference, that was beamed live into millions of homes, Corey announced she was charging Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder instead of manslaughter — a charge that has a better chance of winning a conviction.
Zimmerman gunned down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in cold blood as he walked back to a friend’s house in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon was unarmed, carrying only his cell phone, a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea in his pockets.
Opinions in the case are sharply divided along color lines. Trayvon is black. Zimmerman is white and Hispanic.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was never charged in the case. And Sanford police chief Bill Lee told Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, there would be no arrest in the case. That was 46 days ago.
Thousands of outraged Americans took to the streets in peaceful protests, and the case made headlines around the world.
But Corey has made it nearly impossible to win a conviction against Zimmerman.
“I predicted manslaughter, so I’m a little surprised,” said Michael Seigel, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Florida. “But she has more facts than I do.”
In fact, everyone predicted manslaughter in a case that screams for justice.
It doesn’t take a law degree to see how Corey has sabotaged this case.
In order to win a conviction, the prosecutor’s office must convince a Florida jury that Zimmerman acted with a ‘depraved mind’ when he shot and killed Trayvon.
A manslaughter charge – that he acted without premeditation — would be much easier to prove.
Our only hope now is that a judge with some common sense knocks the charge down to manslaughter. Otherwise, Zimmerman will walk — and Corey knows it.