Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

The trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez

The trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez

The case against St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez went to the jury for deliberation Monday afternoon.

St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter after he fatally shot Philando Castile, 32, last July in an incident that drew national attention and led to weeks of protests in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Yanez, who pleaded not guilty, testified on Friday in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul that Castile disregarded the officer's commands and began reaching for a firearm he had disclosed he had in his possession.

In that Facebook video, Castile - bleeding heavily - insists that he hadn't been reaching for his gun, which he had a permit to carry.

The jury heard closing arguments Monday and deliberated for about a half-day. Jurors were to return Tuesday morning.

He says he's optimistic that Yanez might be convicted in Castile's death.

The prosecutor said Yanez's defense team may tell you that the shooting was Castile's fault since Castile had marijuana in his system, but Paulsen said there is no credible evidence that he was actually impaired.

"He got nervous and he put his safety above the safety of everyone else", Paulsen said of the seven rounds Yanez fired at Castile.

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.

Paulsen reminded the jury that a bullet hit Castile in what would have been his trigger finger - but there was no bullet damage around his pocket where he had the gun.

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. "I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all", he replied.

As Paulsen concluded his closing statements, the judge instructed the jurors that "culpable negligence" is a high level of negligence - gross negligence coupled with recklessness.

"I'm not pulling it out", Castile said, in the audio of the police tape.

She added, "This is no longer about Philando".

Attorney Earl Gray gave the defense's closing arguments with conviction.

During the trial, Reynolds said she and Castile had used marijuana, and a subsequent autopsy found traces of the drug in his blood.

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.

After three white alternates were dismissed after closing arguments, the 12-member jury included two black and ten white people. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the auto or what Yanez might have seen.

Yanez, who is Latino, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and with two lesser counts of endangering the safety of Reynolds and her daughter for firing his gun into the vehicle near them. In a boisterous tone of voice, Earl contested any theory that Yanez did not see a gun on Castile.

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