HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. — A judge on Thursday resentenced former Minneapolis police Officer Mohamed Noor to 57 months in prison for the 2017 death of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk after the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned his murder conviction last month.
Hennepin County Judge Kathryn Quaintance sentenced Noor to the maximum possible sentence for second-degree manslaughter. While delivering the sentence, she noted that Noor shot across the nose of his partner and endangered a bicyclist and surrounding residents, including a household that was entertaining guests on a nearby porch.
With the time he’s already served in prison, he’s expected to be released in June 2022, according to MPR News.
Noor shot and killed Ruszczyk on July 15, 2017, after she called 911 to report a possible rape behind her home in Minneapolis. The 40-year-old yoga teacher and native of Australia died a month before she was set to marry Don Damond, according to CNN.
In a virtual court appearance Thursday, Damond said that he is still grieving his fiancee, but he added that in her life, Ruszczyk “was a unifier, not a separatist.”
“She taught that all people deserve mercy and that all people can transform, and I have no doubt she would have forgiven you for your inability to manage your own emotions that night, which resulted in you pulling that trigger,” he said, addressing Noor.
“Justine was and is still my greatest teacher. Given her example, I want you to know that I forgive you. All I ask is that you use this experience to do good for other people. Be the example of how to transform beyond adversity. Be an example of honesty and contrition. This is what Justine would want.”
Speaking in court, Noor said that he was “deeply grateful for Mr. Damond’s forgiveness.”
“I’m deeply sorry for the pain that I’ve caused that family and I will take his advice and be a unifier,” he said.
Prosecutors had asked for Noor to face the maximum penalty for second-degree murder, noting that Noor “wore the badge,” according to MPR News. Noor’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, had asked for a 41-month sentence, citing the former police officer’s good behavior behind bars and harsh conditions that he faced during many months in solitary, away from the general prison population.
In 2019, Noor testified that in July 2017, he and his partner heard a loud bang on their police SUV as they were driving slowly in an alley, which made them fear for their lives, according to The Associated Press. He fired a shot from the passenger seat of the SUV after seeing a woman appear at the driver’s side window of the vehicle and raise her right arm, the AP reported.
In 2019, a jury sentenced Noor to 12 1/2 years in prison for third-degree murder. The Minnesota Supreme Court overturned that sentence last month, saying in an opinion that there was insufficient evidence to fit the charge under state law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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