Minneapolis (Associated Press)-The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday dropped the third-degree murder conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman in 2017, saying the charge Does not meet the circumstances of the case.
Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual citizen of the United States and Australia. She called 911 to report possible sexual assault behind her home. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years’ imprisonment for murder, but was not sentenced for manslaughter.
The ruling means that his murder was overturned and the case will now return to the District Court, where he will be sentenced for manslaughter. He has served more than 28 months in prison. If convicted of manslaughter with a presumption of four years, he may be eligible for supervised release around the end of this year.
Caitlinrose Fisher, one of the lawyers who worked on Noor’s appeal, said she is grateful that the Minnesota Supreme Court has clarified the composition of the third-degree murder, which she hopes will lead to fairness and consistency in the accusation decision. higher.
“We said from the beginning that this was a tragedy, but not a murder, and now the Supreme Court agrees and recognizes this,” she said.
The message left to the Hennepin County Prosecutor’s Office who prosecuted the case on Wednesday did not return immediately.
The ruling may give former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin reason to challenge his own third-degree murder conviction in the death of George Floyd in May 2020 . But this will not have much impact on Qiao Wen, because he was also convicted of a more serious second-degree murder-the degree of murder, and served 22 1/2 years in prison. Experts say that Shavin is unlikely to successfully appeal his second-degree murder conviction.
The Knoll decision is also closely watched because it may have an impact on three other former Minneapolis police officers awaiting trial due to the death of Freud. The prosecutors wanted to increase the accusations of assisting them and instigating third-degree murder, but this is unlikely to happen now. The three will be tried in March on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
In its ruling on Wednesday, the court stated that for the third-degree murder charge, also known as “degenerate murder”, the person’s mental state must show “general indifference to human life, and this indifference when the defendant’s behavior is instructed.” It is impossible. The particularity of the slain.”
The judges stated that the only reasonable inference that can be drawn in Noor’s case is that his actions were specifically directed at Damond, “therefore, there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction…
State law defines tertiary murder as “extremely dangerous to others and showing depraved thoughts, regardless of human life.” A core dispute is whether “dangerous to others” must be understood in plural, or whether fatal acts are okay Target a specific person.
Fisher argued in the appeal that the language requires the defendant to act against more than one person and that the law applies to cases such as indiscriminate killing.
But prosecutors urged the Minnesota Supreme Court to uphold the conviction for third-degree murder, stating that almost all police officers’ killings targeted specific people.
“If you insist that a person cannot be convicted of third-degree murder… if their actions are directed at someone, then under Minnesota’s Fallen Murder Act, there will be no shootings involving police officers,” Hennery Ping County Attorney Jean Burdorf said during an oral argument in June.
Noor testified in the 2019 trial that a loud noise in his police car made him worry about the life of him and his partner, so he reached out from the passenger seat and passed his partner and shot through the driver’s window. Fisher told the Supreme Court judge that it is “hard to imagine” that a police officer’s “instant response to a perceived threat” would be considered a “mental murder”, but other charges can also be justified, such as negligence. kill.
“Mohamed Noor did not act with a depraved mentality. Mohamed Noor is not indifferent to human life,” Fisher said in the Supreme Court debate. “In hindsight, we now know that Mr. Noor made a tragic momentary error. But if there is any meaningful difference between murder and manslaughter, then this error is not enough to sustain Mr. Noor’s conviction for third-degree murder.”
She said on Wednesday that she had not spoken to Noor, but knew that this opinion was important.
“He really believed that he was saving his partner’s life that night, but he unfortunately caused the loss of innocent lives,” she said. “Of course, this is very challenging, but I think that just reiterating that such an error is not a murder will make more sense than words can express.”