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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 9th, 2013
05:43 PM ET

Analysis: Will jury convict Zimmerman of manslaughter instead?

The defense could rest its case as early as Wednesday in the George Zimmerman murder trial. In order for the jury to find Zimmerman guilty of the charge of second degree murder, the prosecutors have to show that Zimmerman acted with a depraved mind when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

The prosecution, said criminal defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, has failed in that regard.

"That charge is not going to fly ... George Zimmerman didn't go out intending to hunt someone down because of ill will, spite," said Baden. "In my opinion, at most this is manslaughter or aggravated battery."

CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin disagrees.

"I don't think that we at this point can say the jury will never convict of second degree murder, because there is evidence of ill will, spite, hatred, using George Zimmerman's very words. So that's still very much on the table," said Hostin.

The defense has played and replayed the non-emergency 911 call Zimmerman made before the attack to show that he was using a "lackadaisical voice" to describe Martin, rather than with hatred and spite as the prosecution says, said CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez.

In the state of Florida, a mandatory lesser included is manslaughter, said Casarez. That means the jury will automatically be considering manslaughter, whether or not the prosecutor wants them to.

The manslaughter charge focuses on culpable intelligence, or that Zimmerman's own actions and decisions led to Martin's death.

Filed under: World Lead
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