The police officer found guilty of killing Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond in the US has sensationally had his conviction overturned.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has sensationally reversed the third-degree murder conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017.
The court has ruled that essentially a legal technicality means that Mohamed Noor was not guilty of murder.
In June 2019, Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years in jail for shooting and killing Ruszczyk Damond on the night of July 15, 2017, in Minneappolis when she had called police to report a potential rape behind her house.
As she approached the police vehicle, Noor fired his gun at her from across his partner, hitting and killing the Australian woman outside her home.
Noor has already served more than 28 months of his murder sentence. If sentenced to a presumptive four years for manslaughter, he could be eligible for supervised release around the end of this year.
The Minnesota Supreme Court unanimous ruling written by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea found that the language in the third-degree murder statute states that it applies when a defendant kills someone “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind.”
The word “others” was ruled to mean when more than one person’s life is threatened.
In its ruling the court said a person’s mental state must show a “generalised indifference to human life, which cannot exist when the defendant’s conduct is directed with particularity at the person who is killed.”
The justices said that the only reasonable inference that can be drawn in Noor’s case is that his conduct was directed with particularity at Damond Ruszczyk, “and the evidence is therefore insufficient to sustain his conviction.”
Sydney woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond met her fiance Don Damond at a Colorado meditation retreat in 2012 and in 2015 moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to be with him.
The 40-year-old spiritual healer and meditation teacher was a week away from marrying him when she was shot and killed.
In June 2019, the City of Minneapolis awarded Ruszczyk Damond’s family $20 million finding that “there was not a clear threat before the use of force was made.”