Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Monday’s death of George Floyd. Chauvin, 44, is accused of keeping his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for more than eight minutes.
If convicted, Chauvin could spend more than a dozen years in prison.
But what is third-degree murder? Most states separate murder charges into two categories. Minnesota, however, is one of three states that have three degrees of murder, CNN reported. The other two are Florida and Pennsylvania.
In third-degree murder and manslaughter charges, intent is a deciding factor.
According to state statutes, a person can be charged with third-degree murder “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind,” without regard for life and without intent to kill.
A person can be convicted of manslaughter in the second degree if they can prove one of five means under Minnesota law.
Persons convicted of third-degree murder could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, a fine up to $40,000, or both, according to Minnesota statutes. However, the state’s sentencing guidelines normally recommend 12 1/2 years for a conviction on the murder charge and four years for manslaughter.
Former Officer Mohamed Noor received a 12 1/2-year sentence after he was convicted last year of killing Justine Diamond, an unarmed Australian woman who was fatally shot after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault, according to The Associated Press.
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