MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Days before former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor is scheduled to be sentenced in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, his attorneys are arguing for a shorter sentence.
In a court filing Wednesday, the defense asked the Court to either give Noor a stayed sentence in which he would serve some time in a workhouse or to allow a durational departure that would sentence Noor to one year and one day in prison.
In April, a jury found Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. According to sentencing guidelines, Noor faces up to 15 years in prison.
Along with the request for the sentencing departure, the defense team included 44 letters from people who wrote in support of Noor and his character. Among them included a woman he helped who was living in a homeless shelter, a former employer from his real estate job and a director at West Bank Athletic Club, where Noor volunteered as a youth coach.
"It takes both patience and an ability to lead with kindness," wrote Ahmed Ismail, the executive director at West Bank Athletic Club. "Seeing Mohamed in this role was rewarding for me and the children he worked with."
A fellow police officer, Lt. Danny May also wrote on Noor's behalf in which he outlined the "anguish" Noor has felt since the fatal shooting.
The defense team argues the letters show Noor has a "history of being positive influence on youth, elderly persons, and the community in general."
Sources confirm to FOX 9 that the Ruszczyk family from Australia will not be present for sentencing on Friday. Their attorney, Bob Bennett will be reading victim impact statements their behalf. A video will also be played in court to showcase Justine’s beauty and humanity before she was shot and killed. Her fiancé, Don Damond, is planning to be in court to deliver his victim impact statement personally.