Mohamed Noor to be resentenced Thursday in death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

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Former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor will be re-sentenced on Thursday. He was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the 2017 shooting death of an Australian woman, Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

A jury convicted Noor in 2019 and he was sentenced to 12½ years in prison.

Last month, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the third-degree murder conviction. Noor’s attorney Thomas Plunkett filed a petition asking the high court to hear the case after the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in February.

Noor will now be resentenced on the lower second-degree manslaughter charge. He has been ordered to appear in court in person and will be transported to the Government Center from Oak Park Heights prison.

“This is, as you can imagine, essentially a retraumatization,” said Robert Bennett, an attorney who represents the Ruszczyk family. “They certainly felt that the sentence, irrespective of what you call the crime, was more fair at 12½ years.”

The second-degree manslaughter charge carries a typical sentence of 41-57 months, according to University of St. Thomas Law Professor Mark Osler.

“The target in the sentencing guidelines for that is only four years so it’s a big difference,” said Osler.

He explained with the lower charge, “you don’t have the element of intent, you don’t have to intend to kill someone, it’s where … something you do that is deeply careless and doesn’t take into account the danger of others.”

Hennepin County District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance will decide the length of the new sentence.

Plunkett is asking Judge Quaintance to consider 41 months. In court documents, he argues Noor “has shown to be a model prisoner” and cites "particularly harsh conditions of his incarceration", including time spent in segregation and the COVID pandemic.

“If they go that low, because of the way we apportion supervised release and imprisonment, his prison sentence will effectively be done and he’ll leave prison at this point,” said Osler.

Typically an inmate serves two-thirds of the sentence behind bars and the other third on supervised release, according to Osler.

He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the judge will weigh Noor’s arguments with the seriousness of the crime, and how it affected Ruszczyk Damond’s family.

“Their wishes are that you see at least the height of the guidelines and more, if possible,” said Bennett. “He will have the knowledge that he took a life that did not need to be taken, a life of an innocent person, and perhaps he will learn from that but a little more time to think about it would be appropriate in the Ruszczyks’ view. … It isn’t just Justine that he killed — it’s parts of all of them.”

Bennett confirmed the family will be sharing victim impact statements during the sentencing. According to a district court spokesperson, prosecutors will read statements on behalf of the family.