A U.S. court has ruled in favor of the former Minneapolis police Mohamed Noor on suspicion of killing Australian woman Justine Damond.
Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree murder during the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.
He was sentenced to 12 and a half years on the murder count but was not convicted of murder.
The Minnesota The Supreme Court’s ruling means that his murder conviction will be overturned and the case will go back to the district court, where he will be convicted of murder counting. He has already served more than 28 months of his murder sentence.
If he is sentenced to a presumptive four years for manslaughter, he may be entitled to a surveillance solution at the end of this year.
In its judgment, the court also clarified what would constitute third-degree murder, or murder with a depraved mind, and said that the charter does not apply if the actions of a defendant are directed at a certain person.
Caitlinrose Fisher, a lawyer who worked on Noor’s appeal, said she was grateful the Supreme Court had clarified the law and hoped it would lead to greater fairness and consistency in fees.
“We have said from the beginning that this was a tragedy but that it was not a murder, and now the Supreme Court agrees and acknowledges it,” she said.
Noor’s defense team also released a joint statement saying “justice has been served” and Noor looked forward to hugging his son as soon as possible.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, whose office prosecuted the case, said he did not agree with the Supreme Court’s analysis but had to accept the decision.
Freeman said the second-degree conviction was fair.
Messages sent to Damond’s fiancé were not immediately returned, and an e-mail sent to her family in Australia was returned with an automatic reply.
The verdict could give former Minneapolis official Derek Chauvin reason to contest his own third-degree murder for George Floyd’s death in May 2020.
But that would not have a major impact on Chauvin, as he was also convicted of the second felony of second-degree murder and is serving 22 and a half years on that bill.
Experts say Chauvin is unlikely to succeed in appealing for his second-degree murder.
The verdict in Noor’s case was also closely monitored for its possible impact on three other former Minneapolis officers awaiting trial for Floyd’s death.
Prosecutors had wanted to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against them, but that is unlikely now.
The three men are to stand trial in March accused of aiding and abetting both second-degree murders and murders.
The Office of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, said it was studying the decision.
Noor testified in his trial in 2019 that a loud bang on his company car had made him fear for his and his partner’s lives, so he had reached his partner from the passenger seat and shot through the driver’s window.
Fisher said on Wednesday that Noor “had really thought he was saving his partner’s life that night, and instead he tragically caused the loss of an innocent life … I think just confirming that such a mistake is not murder will mean more than words can say.”