The ruling for a former Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor, who fatally shot a woman in 2017 was overturned this week, removing a third-degree murder conviction. Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and sentences to 12.5 years.
As was reported by ABC News, Noor shot and killed “Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.”
The implication of the ruling is that the murder conviction is overturned and his case will return to the district court where he will be sentenced on the manslaughter count alone.
Caitlinrose Fisher is one of the attorneys who worked on Noor’s appeal and she stated, “We’ve said from the beginning that this was a tragedy but it wasn’t a murder, and now the Supreme Court agrees and recognizes that.”
The court document reads:
The issue before us on appeal is not whether Noor is criminally responsible for Ruszczyk ’s death; he is, and his conviction of second-degree manslaughter stands. The issue before us is whether in addition to second-degree manslaughter, Noor can also be convicted of depraved-mind murder. Because conduct that is directed with particularity at the person who is killed cannot evince “a depraved mind, without regard for human life,” Minn. Stat. § 609.195(a), and because the only reasonable inference that can be drawn from the circumstances proved is that Noor directed his single shot with particularity at Ruszczyk, we conclude that he cannot. Accordingly, we reverse Noor’s conviction of depraved-mind murder and remand the case to the district court for Noor to be sentenced on the second-degree manslaughter conviction.
Fischer reportedly said Noor “really believed he was saving his partner’s life.”
Fischer said, “He really believed that he was saving his partner’s life that night, and instead he tragically caused the loss of an innocent life. Of course that is incredibly challenging, but I think just having reaffirmation that a mistake like that isn’t murder will mean more than words can say.”
According to ABC News, Noor claimed that the night of the shooting he heard a loud bang on the squad car that caused him to be afraid for his own and his partner’s lives. Noor then reached across his partner from the passenger side of the vehicle and shot Damond, who was approaching their squad car, through the driver’s window.
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