#PhilandoCastile: Closing Arguments Complete, Jury Begins Deliberations in Trial of Jeronimo Yanez
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 19, 2017,
Jun 19, 2017, 16:09
A Minnesota jury has ended its first partial day of deliberations without a verdict in the trial of a police officer who fatally shot a black motorist a year ago during a traffic stop.
Yanez faces one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of unsafe discharge of a firearm for endangering the lives of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter when he fired seven bullets into the auto.
Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and with two lesser counts of endangering Reynolds and her then-4-year-old daughter for firing his gun into the auto near them. Castile had a permit for the weapon.
The jury began deliberations on Monday.
Earl Gray, the lawyer for Yanez, said the officer did what he had to do.
Gray said Yanez had plenty of justification for shooting, because he thought Castile was a robbery suspect.
According to Gray, Castile did not follow Yanez's orders because he was high on marijuana.
And he asked the jury to consider what might have happened if Yanez, when told of the gun, had simply stepped back a few feet to better assess the situation.
Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen argued that autopsy evidence showed a bullet wound to what would have been Castile's trigger finger, and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile's right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun.
The judge allowed the jurors to review the videos, however, the requests for the transcript were denied.
After he shot Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad vehicle video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified Friday that he meant that he didn't know where the gun was "up until I saw it in his right thigh area".
Leary III defined culpable negligence in his jury instructions as "intentional conduct that the defendant may not have meant to be harmful, but that an ordinary and reasonable prudent person would recognize as involving a strong probability of injury to others", adding the concept includes gross negligence coupled with an element recklessness.
The Ramsey County judge hearing the case hasn't said in open court how long each side will get for closing arguments. "I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all", he replied. "That wasn't my intention", Yanez said while wiping tears from his eyes, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.
Reynolds said last week that she showed the video because she did not trust police.
They must unanimously agree about whether Yanez was guilty or not guilty on each of the three charges Yanez faces: second-degree manslaughter and two counts of felony unsafe discharge of a firearm. Officers then removed Castile from the auto and attempted to revive him.
"I told him, 'Don't pull it out, ' " Yanez testified in court, adding that he tried to distract Philando, but "he continued to pull his firearm out of his pocket".
After three white alternates were dismissed following closing arguments, the 12-member jury includes two blacks.
Castile was shot seconds after he informed Yanez he was carrying a gun.
Two of the seven shots fired by Yanez missed Castile and nearly hit the girlfriend in the passenger seat, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter in the back seat, Paulsen said.