Judge Rules That Philando Castile’s Murderer Will Finally Face Trial
By Moses Kamuiru | 2/23/2017, midnight
Judge rules that the police officer who shot Philando Castile moments before his girlfriend captured his death live on Facebook should face trial
The police officer from Minnesota accused of shooting Philando Castile during a traffic stop will stand trial with the likelihood of a death penalty, a judge ruled on Monday. By the name of Jeronimo Yanez, the officer had asked for the dismissal of the case on the basis that the prosecutors did not have probable cause to charge him, arguing that Castile was intoxicated on marijuana, making him culpable in his death.
Yanez’s request was denied by Judge William Leary claiming that it was reasonable and fair for the matter to proceed to trial in the writing of this Monday order, “The Pioneer Press” reported. Jeronimo Yanez faces charges of dangerous discharge of a firearm and manslaughter in Castile’s death on July the 6th when he shot the 32-year old black man seven times in a suburb of St. Paul Minnesota called Falcon Heights.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds recorded the bloody incident of the school cafeteria worker’s shooting. Although it is certain that Castile legally possessed a gun in the pants of his pocket, there is a dispute in the exact circumstances of the incident. The state has claimed that Castile notified Yanez that he had a firearm in his car and he was trying to get his wallet when the police officer shot him. The attorney representing Yanez said that ‘he saw that gun’ and Castile was trying to reach out for it. Paul Engh, The defense attorney, said “he had no choice but to shoot him” a few hours before the judge issued the decision at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday morning.
Yanez, wearing a beige suit, said nothing throughout the forty minute of the hearing which drew the support of both him and Castile at the Ramsey County Courthouse. Yanez’s attorney also argued that because the active ingredient in marijuana known as THC was found on Castile’s body after his death, Castile was complicit in his death and that the case should be dismissed. The judge found that to be unpersuasive and wrote in his order that “a victim’s unreasonable conduct is never an absolute defense to a criminal charge.”
The hearing on Wednesday provided the defense strategies preview that Yanez’s attorneys might use during a trial, but the judge showed that he felt that there was enough of a factual dispute to merit a jury trial in his ruling. Judge Leary wrote that “This court concludes that the evidence, as interpreted by the state, is substantial enough to create a likelihood that, if a jury accepts the state’s interpretation, the state could prevail.”
Valerie Castile who is Castile’s mother told reporters that the case was in God’s hands at the hearing. “He was an amazing human being,” she commented of her son. Yanez, a husband and a father of one, joined the St. Anthony Police Department four years ago. February 27 is scheduled to be the next hearing in the case.
Castile’s last moments according to the prosecutor
Yanez, the Police officer, asked Castile to produce his proof of insurance and driver’s license and Castile provided the Insurance card first. Castile then informed the police officer that he had a firearm calmly and in a non-threatening manner. But before Castile completed the statement, Officer Yanez replied “okay” and placed his right arm on his holstered gun.
“Okay then don’t reach for it,” Officer Yanez responded. Castile responded, “I am not pulling it out,” a statement that was reinstated by his girlfriend. The police officer screamed “Don’t pull it out” while he reached inside the driver’s side with his right arm while his right hand pulled his gun. Officer Yanez fired seven shots in quick succession after pulling his left arm out of the car.