A former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of 3rd-degree felony murder in the shooting death of an unarmed woman who had called 911 to report a possible rape behind her home. Justine Damond, an Australian-American resident, was unarmed and wearing pajamas when Mohamed Noor shot her in an alley behind her home.
After deliberating for two days, a jury on Tuesday convicted Noor of third-degree felony murder and second-degree manslaughter in the July 15, 2017 death of Damond.
Noor, 33, took the stand in his own defense during his four week murder trial. He said he heard a “loud bang” on the hood of the car and he had no other choice but to shoot to protect himself and his partner Matthew Harrity.
Noor testified that he couldn’t see a weapon or the woman’s hands as she approached the squad car in the dark.
Forensic evidence found that Damond, 40, didn’t touch the hood of the squad car before she was shot.
Noor said Damond startled him and made him fear a possible ambush.
“Oh, Jesus!” Noor said his partner yelled. Noor then said he saw a woman with blonde hair and a pink T-shirt raise her right arm outside the car.
He reached across his partner and fired a single shot through the open driver’s side window.
“I had to make a split decision,” Noor said. But his partner initially told investigators he wasn’t in fear of his life nor did he reach for his weapon.
The defense rested its case at the end of the fourth week of the trial. The jury got the case on Monday after closing arguments.
Noor, who was free on bond, was immediately remanded into custody, over the objections of his defense attorneys who wanted him to remain free on bond until his sentencing hearing.
As Noor was being taken away, he showed no emotion, nor did he turn to look at his supporters, including his crying wife.
A man who served on the jury, which deliberated about 11 hours on Monday and Tuesday, told NBC affiliate KARE 11 that he felt bad for Noor, but he and the other jurors followed the letter of the law in convicting him.
“I feel bad for the guy,” he told the station. “I feel bad for his family. But we determined he committed a crime. And in the end, no one is above the law.”
Damond, a life coach, was engaged to be married a month after the shooting. Her death sparked outrage around the world, and triggered resignations and policy changes within the Minneapolis Police Department.
Noor faces a Photos by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images