#PhilandoCastile: Closing Arguments Complete, Jury Begins Deliberations in Trial of Jeronimo Yanez

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of risky discharge of a firearm, all felonies.

In July 2016, police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop.

Now on trail for second-degree manslaughter, Yanez told jurors that the shooting was justified because he had feared for his life.

The 32-year-old school cafeteria worker was one in a string of black men to die at the hands of police in recent years, and his death drew additional attention because his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the gruesome aftermath on Facebook.

Gray told the jury that Castile would still be alive if he "wasn't stoned" and had followed instructions.

"If he had done that, everybody would have gone home safely that night", the prosecutor said.

He was courteous, non-threatening, offered no resistance and "didn't even complain about being pulled over for such a minor offense", Paulsen added.

Yanez testified that he clearly saw a gun and that Castile ignored his commands to stop pulling it out of his pocket.

"You didn't say he grabbed a gun", Dusterhoft said.

When Castile was telling Yanez that he was "not reaching for it", Yanez admitted that he was experiencing tunnel vision simultaneously, Paulsen argued. The officer shot the driver five times seconds after Castile told him he was carrying a gun.

"This isn't a murder case".

Twelve jurors are in their second day of deliberations in the manslaughter case against Yanez.




Paulsen also argued that any applied negligence and any claimed fault on the victim's part isn't a defense.

Leary instructed the jury to consider each offense that Yanez has been charged with, as well as the evidence pertaining to each, separately.

A jury will soon be deliberating the fate of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in last July's fatal shooting of a black motorist.

For the two counts of risky discharge of a firearm, jurors will need to decide whether the officer discharged his firearm under circumstances that endangered Reynolds and her daughter, Dae-Anna.

Leary refused a jury request to view a post-shooting video interview with Yanez by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, excerpts of which were read in court.

"You didn't say firearm", Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Rick Dusterhoft said of Yanez's BCA interview. "No", Yanez said, "I was sure".

Yanez said he was justified in stopping Castile's vehicle because he resembled a suspect in a convenience store robbery, court documents said.

Paulsen also pointed out that Yanez was the only witness to testify that he smelled burnt marijuana.

Jeffrey Noble, a use-of-force expert, testified there was "absolutely no reason" to believe Castile was a threat.

Last week, Reynolds explained her snap decision to record the traffic stop: "Because I know that the people are not protected against the police. But it is not a hard case", Paulsen said. Jurors will return either a signed guilty form or not guilty form. But Pendleton says it will be just a "mustard seed of justice" if he is.

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

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