Crime, Law and Justice

Judge rebuffs request to add third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

Ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin appears in on closed-circuit television.
In this courtroom sketch, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin appeared in on closed-circuit television from a maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., Monday, June 29, 2020, during a hearing before Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill in Minneapolis.
Cedric Hohnstadt via AP

The judge overseeing the trial of a former police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd has rejected a motion to reinstate third-degree murder charges.

Prosecutors had asked Judge Peter Cahill to reinstate third-degree murder charges against former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. They cited a recent appeals court decision upholding that charge for another former officer, Mohamed Noor, who was convicted in the shooting death of 911-caller Justine Ruszczyk in 2019. 

But the judge said the appeals court decision was not yet precedent because it could still be appealed to the state Supreme Court. Cahill said he disagreed with the majority decision that the third-degree murder charge, which is known as “depraved mind” murder, could be directed at only one person. 

The judge also said he wouldn't allow the prosecution to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against three officers set to go on trial in August in connection with Floyd's killing. 

Chauvin is still charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Jury selection is set to start in his trial on March 8 in Minneapolis.