Yanez Defense: 'It Was the Right Decision' After a Ramsey County Jury Finds the Former Officer Not Guilty

June 16, 2017 06:06 PM

Lawyers for former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez said the three week trial was a "tragic case" but they were "very satisfied" with the jury's not guilty verdict.

Yanez, a 29-year-old, shot Philando Castile five times just seconds after Castile informed him he was carrying a handgun during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights last summer. Castile had a permit and prosecutors say Yanez overreacted to a non-threat.

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"It's a tragedy all the way around," defense attorney Tom Kelly said. "We're very satisfied in the verdict. The jury considered this thoroughly. It was thoroughly litigated, fairly litigated and fairly defended."

Kelly added that, "nobody should have an adverse reaction to this."

RELATED: 'I am Mad as Hell Right Now' says Valerie Castile Outside Courtroom

When asked if the defense had a message to Castile's family, Kelly replied, "We are very sorry for their loss."

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on one count of manslaughter in the second degree shooting death of Castile shortly before 3 p.m.

The jury also found Yanez not guilty on the first count reckless discharge of a firearm, and not guilty on the second count of reckless discharge of a firearm.

Before reading the verdict, Judge William H. Leary asked the jurors if they had read any media reports on Tuesday or Wednesday about the Yanez transcript from his interview with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and his decision to deny the jury's request.

RELATED: Jury Finds Yanez Not Guilty on All Counts in the Shooting Death of Philando Castile

He also questioned if any jurors had discussed the case with outside parties or observed any media reports; jurors answered no to both questions.

Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, yelled an expletive as she left the courtroom. Another unidentified family member muttered that "seven shots were fired" under her breath as she left the courtroom.

Yanez family members were seen hugging one another, and Yanez's mother hugged his attorney Earl Gray after the verdict. Yanez family and attorneys were escorted out a separate door.

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Ben Rodgers

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