Defense to call more witnesses in cop's manslaughter trial


Jeronimo Yanez took the stand in his own defense. The 29-year-old officer stated he was scared to death and thought he was going to die.

According to KSTP-TV, Yanez said on the stand today that before he initiated the traffic stop, he saw Castile drive by; the two "made eye contact and he gave me a deer-in-headlights look", Yanez testified.

Castile was roughly the same age, same race and had similar dreadlocks to the robbery suspect, Yanez testified.

The jury has watched Yanez's patrol vehicle video when he stopped Castile at least three times during the trial.

After Yanez had confirmed earlier Friday for his defense attorneys that he thought Castile had a handgun in his right hand, specifically saying it looked like a Glock, prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft asked Yanez why he never told the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that he thought he saw that kind of pistol.

Closing statements in Yanez's trial will begin Monday morning, followed by jury deliberations.

Yanez faces one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of risky discharge of a weapon for his conduct. Castile had a permit for the weapon.

Asked to explain the recording, Yanez said: "What I meant by that was I didn't know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area".

Dusterhoft also asked why Yanez failed to tell the officers who responded to the scene about the presence of a gun in the vehicle as police typically do to ensure everyone's safety.

The defense said Yanez didn't have the time to do so, because the situation escalated so quickly.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile.

Paulsen also questioned the thoroughness of Dutton's report, asking him why he didn't include statements made by Reynolds and Castile as Castile was dying that he wasn't reaching for his gun.

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Emanuel Kapelsohn says it should be whether Officer Jeronimo Yanez reasonably believed that Philando Castile was pulling a gun when Yanez shot him.

The squad auto video also recorded Castile's last words before Yanez opened fire. When Castile started saying he wasn't reaching for it, the officer interrupted, saying, "Don't pull it out", the AP reported. Hardin said his opinion was based on Castile's blood levels of THC, the high-inducing agent in marijuana.

The police video of the traffic stop, as well as the Facebook Live post by girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat next to Castile during the stop, were played in court on Monday.

Mangseth told Engh, the defense attorney, that a key police tenet is, "Be safe, and make sure you go home at the end of your shift, along with your partner".

"He had to react to the actions of Mr. Castile", said Joseph Dutton, a retired Mound and Golden Valley police officer. The matter was debated when defense toxicologist Glenn Hardin took the witness stand. Four days later, during roll call, Yanez said he and his fellow officers were reminded again to be on the lookout for possible suspects in that case, as none had been found.

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

YANEZ: "Okay, don't reach for it, then".

Kapelsohn said tests he conducted showed it would take three-tenths of a second to draw a gun like Castile's from a holster in the pocket of shorts like Castile was wearing.

Earlier this week, Reynolds testified that she felt she had to record the encounter with Yanez out of fear for her own life. Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the killing of Philando Castile in the St. Paul suburb last July.

There's a five-second stretch in the dash camera video when Castile said, "Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me". The officer is expected to testify when the defense presents its case.

Various toxicology experts called by the state and defense differed on whether postmortem blood samples can accurately indicate recent marijuana use.

Under cross-examination, Diehl said Minnesotans with a license to carry a firearm are not required by law to disclose to a police officer that they have a gun.