Minnesota’s Supreme Court has unanimously overturned a conviction of third-degree murder for ex-Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor. Now convicted only of manslaughter, Noor will likely have eight years shaved off his 12-and-a-half year prison sentence. In 2019, a jury convicted Noor of shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond when she approached his cop car after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault in an alley behind her home. A Court of Appeals panel voted to uphold that conviction earlier this year.
The court’s decision rested on the legal standard of what constitutes third-degree murder, which says a defendant must be of a “depraved mind” to commit, with “a generalized indifference to human life.” Noor’s defense team argued from the outset that the charge didn’t apply as his actions were performed in a split second, focused on a singular person, and conducted out of fear for his partner’s life. Noor’s lawyer reported that his client responded to the news by saying, “with hardship comes ease” and he is “looking forward to hugging his son as soon as possible.”