The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the third degree murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed a 911 caller four years ago.
Noor was also found guilty of second degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond on July 15, 2017, and that verdict is still in effect.
But 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.”
Damnod 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.
Noor will be punished for the sole conviction for manslaughter. The former police officer was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison in 2019.
This is a developing story. Please update here for updates.