ST. PAUL, Minn. - The manslaughter trial of a Minnesota police officer who shot and killed a black motorist is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Monday with closing arguments.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July in Falcon Heights. Castile's girlfriend streamed the immediate aftermath live on Facebook, which brought the case extra attention.
Castile informed Yanez during the stop that he had a gun. He had a permit to carry it.
Yanez testified Friday that he saw the gun and that Castile disregarded his commands not to pull it out of his pocket before he opened fire. Five of the seven shots he fired struck Castile.
Yanez faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the manslaughter charge.
Noted attorney Doug Kelley has been following the case.
"I think this is a very close case," he said.
In his eyes, it all comes down to two key factors.
"I think if I was the prosecution, I would be relying on that dashcam video a lot," he said.
For the defense, Kelley says it hinges on whether jurors believe Yanez when he testified, "I was scared to death. I thought I was going to die. I saw my family pop into my head."
"If they believed his testimony on Friday, that would militate in favor of an acquittal," Kelley said. "If they did not believe him then I believe he's in deep, deep trouble."
Nationally, it's incredibly rare for jurors to convict a police officer of manslaughter.
"I think it's very hard to convict a police officer because we expect them to protect us in society," Kelley said. "However, in the recent number of shooting we've had in the last several years, there is a difference that's popped up."
If the juror can't make up their minds, a tie goes to the defendant.
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