The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the third degree murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who shot dead a 911 caller four years ago.
Noor was also convicted of second degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond on July 15, 2017, and that verdict is still in effect.
The former officer will be sentenced again on the sole manslaughter conviction, as opposed to the 12-and-a-half-year sentence he was given in 2019 for murder.
Noor is now considering a sentence ranging from 41 months to 57 months for that lesser sentence, a spokeswoman for the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office said.
If sentenced to a four-year manslaughter sentence, the former officer should be eligible for release after spending two-thirds of that time and be released at the end of the year, said the ‘Noor’s appeal attorney, Peter Wold.
Noor has been behind bars since his conviction on April 30, 2019.
“I spoke to Mo this morning. It’s a relief, a great relief, ”Wold told NBC News. “He has a young son and it’s time they got back together. “
The High Court ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove that Noor acted with a “depraved mind, with no regard for human life,” which would be necessary for the third degree murder conviction.
This law has always been used in cases where an accused is accused of endangering multiple people and not targeting a single person, according to the court.
Prosecutors had argued that Noor fit that description because his fatal shot at Damond could also have injured the officer’s partner or a passing cyclist.
The court ruled that it was clear that Noor was only targeting the woman he had killed.
“In summary, our precedent confirms that Noor is correct in asserting that a person does not commit depraved mind murder when the person’s actions are directed against a particular victim,” the judge said. Chief Lorie Gildea.
“Excluding a particular person is just another way of saying that the mental state for depraved mind murder is one of general malice. “
Damond had called 911 that night, believing he heard a woman in his neighborhood being assaulted. When Damond came out to greet the police, she surprised the officers who responded, Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity, officers said.
Noor fired, killing Damond, the innocent calling 911. Police could never conclude that there had been an assault in the Damond neighborhood.
Hennepin County Attorney Michael O. Freeman said his prosecutors were “disappointed” with Wednesday’s ruling, but they “respect and recognize that the Minnesota Supreme Court is the final arbiter in this case.”
“His conviction (of manslaughter) was fair,” Freeman said in a statement. “The case has been sent back to the lower court for sentencing and we will seek the maximum possible sentence. “
The chief justice said the court and prosecutors agree that “Noor’s decision to shoot a deadly weapon simply because he was caught was disproportionate and unreasonable.”
“Noor’s conduct is particularly troubling given the trust citizens should be able to place in our peace officers,” Gildea wrote. “But the tragic circumstances of this case do not change the fact that Noor’s conduct was directed in a particular way towards Ruszczyk. “
The city of Minneapolis agreed to a $ 20 million settlement with the woman’s family. She had dual American and Australian citizenship.