Sunday evening, Feb. 26: It was raining in central Florida while the NBA All-Star game and the Oscars were about to begin on TV.

A 17-year-old high school junior from Miami Gardens serving a 10-day suspension went to 7-Eleven to get candy. It was the third time Trayvon Martin had been disciplined at school, so this time his parents sent him to a quiet, racially mixed gated community in Sanford, Fla., with his dad to get his priorities straight. He was African American and wore a hoodie.

George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who routinely called police to report anything awry, had just made dinner and told his family he was headed to Target. He was Hispanic and wore a holstered Kel Tek 9mm semiautomatic handgun.

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