Noor attorneys request squad car for 'independent examination'

March 26, 2019 09:45 AM

Attorneys for former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor have requested access to a department squad car for "independent examination," according to court documents.

Noor is charged with second-degree and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, in connection to the death of Justine Ruszczyk in July 2017.


In a court filing, defense attorneys say it "would be most helpful" if they had access to the squad car on Friday, since the moon will be in the same phase as it was on the day Noor shot and killed Ruszczyk.

Noor's attorneys, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold had no comment after a hearing on their motion Thursday afternoon, but Minneapolis defense attorney Christa Groshek told KSTP the move may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

"There will be a lot of questions about, 'What could they see? What did they hear? What did they think was happening?'" said Groshek. "If it's dark, what do you have left for lighting? The moon."

More from KSTP: 

Second-degree murder charge officially added to Noor complaint

Judge allows 2nd-degree murder charge in Noor case

The filing states access to a squad car would "allow the defense the opportunity to independently gather information, make measurements and allow testing and analysis."

On Thursday, Judge Kathryn Quaintance said she wanted assurances that the test was "not just some fishing expedition," and told defense attorneys to refile their request with more specifics about where they would conduct the test, who would be in attendance and exactly when it would happen.

In court, prosecutors expressed skepticism about the reliability of testing the conditions in December, when the shooting happened in July.

"I am not an astronomer, but the Earth is tilted in the exact opposite direction right now," said Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy.

The defense says the state "failed to preserve" the squad car Noor and his partner were in on the night of the shooting, so they are requesting access to another car. 

Prosecutors told the court the squad car is in the possession of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

"If they want to come measure it, photograph it, whatever – it's there," said Sweasy.


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Eric Rasmussen

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