Ex-Minneapolis officer seeks nearly 3.5 years in 911 caller's death

Attorneys requested leniency for ex-officer Mohamed Noor ahead of his resentencing

By Chao Xiong
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — Attorneys for former Minneapolis police Officer Mohamed Noor filed court documents Thursday requesting leniency when he is resentenced next week for fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Defense attorneys Thomas Plunkett and Paul Engh revealed several new details of Noor's life behind bars in their appeal for a prison term of about 3.4 years, much of which has already been served.

In this Friday, June 7, 2019 file photo, former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor walks to the podium to be sentenced in Minneapolis.
In this Friday, June 7, 2019 file photo, former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor walks to the podium to be sentenced in Minneapolis. (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via AP, Pool File)

"Mr. Noor has shown to be a model prisoner," they wrote. "He has spent his time giving back to the community he has found himself in, to the extent he is able to given the pandemic restrictions. Mr. Noor has demonstrated that he is ready to return to 'normal' society and will continue assisting those in need around him. Continuing to keep Mr. Noor imprisoned would be unnecessary if the goal of this Court is reformative justice ..."

Noor, 35, will be resentenced Oct. 21 after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in September to overturn his murder conviction and send his case back to the court.

Jurors found Noor guilty in 2019 of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for shooting Damond while responding to her 911 call about a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her south Minneapolis home.

Noor was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison on the murder count and entered prison on May 2, 2019.

His attorneys appealed the murder count, which was upheld in February by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. They then asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review that decision.

The high court agreed with the defense that the count could not apply when a defendant's actions are targeted at a specific person because of how the statute is written.

Noor will be resentenced on the lower manslaughter count, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. State sentencing guidelines recommend four years for the count for defendants with no criminal history like Noor.

Plunkett and Engh are requesting the lower end of the sentencing guidelines range, citing "unexpected and particularly harsh conditions of his incarceration as well as his post-sentencing conduct" to support their request.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's office previously said it would seek the maximum term.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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