The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the third degree murder conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer who shot dead an Australian woman in 2017, saying the charge did not fit the circumstances of the case.was third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the death of , a dual American and Australian citizen who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.
Noor was sentenced to 12 and a half years for murder, but was not sentenced for manslaughter.
The ruling means his murder conviction is overturned and the case will now return to district court, where he will be convicted of manslaughter. He has already served over 28 months of his murder sentence. If he is sentenced to four years for manslaughter, he may be eligible for supervised release later this year.
In the ruling, the Supreme Court said that for a third degree murder charge, also known as “depraved mind murder”, the person’s mental state must show “widespread indifference to human life. , which cannot exist when the conduct of the accused is directed with a particularity to the person who is killed.
The judges said the only reasonable inference that can be drawn in Noor’s case is that his conduct was directed specifically at Damond, “and therefore there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction … for depraved mind murder.”
Supreme Court ruling could give ex-Minneapolis officergrounds for contesting own third degree murder in the death of George Floyd in May 2020. But that would not have much of an impact on Chauvin as he was also convicted of the more serious charge of second degree murder and is serving a sentence of 22 years and half. Experts say Chauvin is unlikely to be successful in appealing his second degree murder conviction.
Noor was acquitted of second degree murder during his trial.
The decision in the Noor case has also been closely watched for its possible impact on three other former Minneapolis officers awaiting trial over Floyd’s death. Prosecutors had wanted to add charges of aiding and abetting third degree murder against them, but that is unlikely to happen now. The trio are due to stand trial in March for complicity in second degree murder and manslaughter.