Defense rests in Minnesota officer's trial

Jeronimo Yanez

On Thursday, the prosecution rested in the trial, turning it over to the defense. Kapelsohn was hired by the defense to review the case pending against Yanez and render his opinion.

"I thought I was going to die", Yanez said, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune.

Castile had a permit to carry the weapon and he told Yanez he was carrying a gun.

Prosecutors played a portion of squad-car video in which Castile told Yanez he was carrying a gun and that he was not reaching for it. Yanez interrupted him and said, "Don't pull it out". "I can reach in with a couple fingers and pull the gun out right now", Kapelsohn told the jury. At that point, the officer, fearing for his life, opened fire into Castile's auto, fatally wounding the St. Paul elementary school cafeteria supervisor, they contend.

Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Yanez acted negligently in using deadly force and had not given clear instructions.

Instead of retreating to a safer position for himself, he added that Yanez remained at Castile's window so he could point down and to the left to avoid injury to the other passengers in the vehicle.

On July 6, 2016, Yanez and another officer stopped Castile for a broken taillight.

"Just because an officer gets nervous... that's not a good enough reason to use deadly force", Paulsen asked him. So he had to act fast not knowing if a weapon would be drawn on him.

Earlier this week, Reynolds testified that she felt she had to record the encounter with Yanez out of fear for her own life.

Yanez now says he did in fact see a firearm and its slide.

Prompted by questions by defense attorney Earl Gray, Dutton said he had no doubt that Yanez's use of deadly force was reasonable.

Yanez testified Friday that he saw Castile's hand on the gun.

"When (Yanez) said he saw that C-grip. that's Castile pulling it".

He was looking for two suspects in a convenience store robbery and said Castile matched the description. Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter, then 4, were also in the vehicle.

The Facebook video that Reynolds shot captured the dying Castile insisting that he hadn't been reaching for his handgun. However, he did not comment on Yanez's actions, as he had not viewed dashcam video of the shooting. Kapelsohn disagreed, saying the central question to him was whether Yanez "reasonably believed that Castile was pulling out a firearm".

Erdman said Yanez was "hyper-vigilant" and initially did not cry but then eventually "broke down", saying, "That poor little girl".

Prosecutor Jeffrey Paulsen noted during cross-examination that Minnesota law does not require permit holders to disclose the presence of a permit or gun.

Other witnesses testified about where Castile's gun was found after he was removed from the vehicle, either hanging from a pocket, falling out of a pocket and hitting the ground or deep in a pocket.

Does St. Anthony teach its officers to communicate with each other while out on calls, Paulsen asked, referencing evidence that Yanez did not inform his partner or responding officers about Castile's gun.

"I don't know where the gun was".

"Because I know that the people are not protected by police", Reynolds said, according to NBC-affiliate KARE 11.

Dutton's testimony was at odds with assertions made by a prosecution witness on Wednesday.

Yanez said that he saw Castile reach for a gun from his right thigh, just before he fired seven shots, hitting Castile five times.

Attorneys previously agreed not to address the levels of THC, the chemical compound in marijuana, found in Castile's blood, but later changed course. He said that was significant because it would have meant Castile had the gun all the way out of his pocket when he was shot. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was asked to clarify audio recorded at the scene.

Hardin, a former forensic scientist and supervisor at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said that Castile likely smoked marijuana about two hours before he was killed.

However, a toxicology expert for the state previously testified that scholarly articles indicate THC found in postmortem blood samples can not accurately determine the time the person last used marijuana because of the way the body's tissues start decomposing at death. Prosecutors said the defense wanted to block the woman because of her race. "A postmortem sample is not as reliable as a sample taken from a living person". He added he would then tell them to "keep their hands on the wheel or through the steering wheel on the dashboard".

"Did you say that in your report?"

"And lead to chaos?"

Elliot Erdman, a fellow St. Anthony police officer and close friend of Yanez, also took the witness stand Friday.

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