Closing arguments for both sides concluded Monday in the trial of St. Anthony, Minn., Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is charged in the shooting death last year of Philando Castile. Now a jury must decide if Yanez panicked and shot Castile, or if Castile caused his own death by ignoring Yanez’s commands.
The Star Tribune reports that the jury of five women and seven men, including just two people of color, received the case at 1:10 p.m. local time Monday. They were scheduled to deliberate until 4:30 p.m. and will reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Yanez, 29, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm in the shooting of 32-year-old Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minn. Yanez fired seven rounds into Castile’s vehicle; Castile was struck by five of the rounds, two of which tore through his heart.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Paulsen painted Yanez as an unreliable witness during his closing arguments, saying that the officer acted prematurely and that Castile “never reached for his gun, let alone put his hands on it,” the Star Tribune reports.
“He got nervous and he put his safety above the safety of everyone else,” Paulsen said of the seven rounds Yanez fired at Castile.
On the other side, defense attorney Earl Gray told the jury that the state had failed miserably in presenting its case. He said that Castile failed to follow orders from Yanez because he was high on marijuana and grabbed a gun in his right pocket, which forced Yanez to shoot him.
“None of this would have happened but for Philando Castile,” Gray said. “[Yanez] sees the gun and [Castile] doesn’t follow orders. That’s enough to pull your gun out and end the threat.
“[Yanez] had to make a split-second judgment,” he argued.
“Castile was responsive and listening to Yanez,” Paulsen told jurors Monday. “The problem was Yanez wasn’t listening to him.”
According to the Star Tribune, Paulsen showed the jury a picture of Castile’s right index finger—his trigger finger—which was grazed with a bullet wound.
Noting that there was no damage to Castile’s pocket or gun, Paulsen said that Castile’s finger could not have been on the gun when he was shot.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, captured the aftermath of the shooting in a now infamous Facebook Live video that showed Yanez crying after the shooting, prompting outrage and protests across the country.
Read more at the Star Tribune.