Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a 911 caller four years ago, had his third-degree murder conviction overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Noor was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond on July 15, 2017, and the conviction is still in effect.
Instead of the 12.5-year sentence, he got for murder in 2019, the former cop will be resentenced solely for manslaughter.
According to a spokesman for the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, Noor now faces a sentence of 41 to 57 months for the lesser charge.
If Noor is sentenced to a four-year manslaughter sentence, he should be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of the sentence and walk free by late this year, according to Noor's appellate counsel, Peter Wold.
Noor has been incarcerated following his April 30, 2019 conviction.
"This morning, I spoke with Mo. "It's a huge relief," Wold said to the News channel. "He has a little boy, and it's past time for them to reunite."
Prosecutors failed to show that Noor behaved with a "depraved mind, without regard for human life," as required for a third-degree murder conviction, according to the top court.
According to the court, that statute has traditionally been applied in circumstances where a person is accused of threatening several people rather than a single individual.
Prosecutors said that Noor fit that description because his deadly shot at Damond had the potential to injure the officer's partner or a passing bicyclist.
The court decided that Noor was clearly only after the woman he killed.
According to Chief Justice Lorie Gildea's judgment, "our precedent demonstrates that Noor is correct in reasoning that a person does not commit depraved-mind murder when the individual's acts are focused at a specific victim."
The particular-person exclusion is simply another way of claiming that murderers with twisted minds have a universal malice mental state.
Damond had called 911 that night after hearing a lady being assaulted in her neighborhood. According to the officers, Damond shocked the responding officers, Noor and partner Matthew Harrity, when she went outside to greet them.
Noor fired a single shot, killing Damond, an innocent 911 caller. Police were never able to prove that an incident had occurred in Damond's area.
Hennepin County Attorney Michael O. Freeman said his prosecutors were "disappointed" by Wednesday's decision, but that they "accept and acknowledge" that the Minnesota Supreme Court is the last arbitrator in the case.
In a statement, Freeman said, "His (manslaughter) conviction was just." "The matter has been remanded to the trial court for sentencing, and we intend to seek the maximum penalty."
Noor's decision to shoot was disproportionate and unreasonable, the chief justice stated, adding that the court and prosecutors agreed.
"Gildea said, "Noor's actions is especially concerning considering the trust that residents should have in our peace officers." "However, the unfortunate circumstances of this case do not negate the reality that Noor's actions were targeted specifically at Ruszczyk."
The Minneapolis city agreed to a $20 million settlement with the woman’s family.
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