Minnesota court vacates ex-cop Mohamed Noor’s 3rd-degree murder conviction

The court said there was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction and ordered that he be sentenced on his conviction for second-degree manslaughter.

This ruling supersedes a previous appeals court decision in February against Noor that opened the door to reinstating a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in April on state murder charges in George Floyd’s death.

Mary Moriarty, the former Chief Hennepin County Public Defender, said she does not believe the decision will affect Chauvin’s case because his second-degree murder conviction has not been reversed. Chauvin was only sentenced on the most serious charge of second-degree murder, per state sentencing guidelines.

Noor was sentenced in June 2019 to 12½ years in prison.

The 33-year-old Somali American was convicted in April of that year on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 death of Ruszczyk, who had relocated from her native Australia to Minneapolis to live with her fiancé.

CNN has sought comment from the attorneys of Mohammed Noor and Ruszczyk’s family as well as the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

At Noor’s trial, his lawyer argued that a “perfect storm” of events led to him opening fire on Ruszczyk the night of July 15, 2017, when she called 911 to report a possible assault in progress in an alley behind her Minneapolis home.

Noor testified that he feared for his partner’s life as Ruszczyk approached their squad car in the dark, empty alley. But Hennepin County prosecutors said Noor overreacted and failed to properly assess the situation before firing a gunshot into Ruszczyk’s abdomen.

Ruszczyk’s death drew widespread attention, in the United States and in her native Australia.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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