Prosecutors did not have to prove Derek Chauvin was the sole cause of George Floyd’s death: The murder and manslaughter charges white cop was found guilty of and how he now faces up to 75 years behind bars
- Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter
- Chauvin faces a minimum sentence of 12.5 years and maximum of 40 years if he serves terms for each charge concurrently
- If served consecutively, he faces between 29 and 75 years
- The jury returned its verdict on Tuesday afternoon after just 10 and a half hours of deliberation
Derek Chauvin now faces up to 75 years behind bars after being found guilty on all charges in George Floyd’s death.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin faces a minimum sentence of 12.5 years and maximum of 40 years if he serves terms for each charge concurrently. If served consecutively, he faces between 29 and 75 years.
The jury returned its verdict on Tuesday afternoon after just 10 and a half hours of deliberation.
As the verdict was read out Chauvin looked on silently in the Hennepin County courtroom where jurors spent three weeks listening to testimony about the day Floyd died under the weight of the 46-year-old cop’s knee during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
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Derek Chauvin is pictured in court on Tuesday as the jury found him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd
Derek Chauvin is seen above being led away in handcuffs after the guilty verdicts were reached Tuesday
Second-degree murder – GUILTY
Possible sentence: 12.5 to 40 years
The second-degree murder charge required prosecutors to prove Chauvin caused Floyd’s death while committing or trying to commit a felony — in this case, third-degree assault.
Prosecutors had to convince the jury that Chauvin assaulted or attempted to assault Floyd and in doing so inflicted substantial bodily harm. Prosecutors did not have to prove Chauvin was the sole cause of Floyd’s death – only that his conduct was a ‘substantial causal factor’.
Second degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, but because Chauvin does not have any prior convictions sentencing guidelines recommend he serve 12.5 years.
Second-degree manslaughter – GUILTY
Possible sentence: Four to 10 years
The manslaughter charge has a lower bar, requiring proof that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death through negligence that created an unreasonable risk, and consciously took the chance of causing severe injury or death.
Second degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison – sentencing guidelines for someone without a criminal record call for no more than four years behind bars.
Third-degree murder – GUILTY
Possible sentence: 12.5 to 25 years
Third-degree murder required a lower standard of proof than second-degree. To win a conviction, prosecutors needed to show only that Floyd’s death was caused by an act that was obviously dangerous, though not necessarily a felony.
Third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years but because Chauvin has no criminal history he would likely end up serving about 12.5.
Chauvin, 45, was accused of killing Floyd by pinning his knee on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as he lay face-down in handcuffs after being detained for using an alleged counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes
Where will Derek Chauvin serve his sentence?
It remains unclear where Derek Chauvin will serve his sentence – and officials may keep the location under wraps due to safety concerns.
Because he was convicted at the state level he will be incarcerated at one of the following state prisons:
- MCF – Faribault
- MCF – Lino Lakes
- MCF – Oak Park Heights
- MCF – Red Wing
- MCF – Rush City
- MCF – St. Cloud
- MCF – Stillwater
- MCF – Togo
- MCF – Moose Lake
MCF – Oak Park Heights would be a likely pick for Chauvin because as the state’s only Level 5 maximum-security prison with fewer than 500 inmates it is regarded as one of the safest for high-risk offenders.
Chauvin’s sentence will rely heavily on a pre-sentencing investigation during which his character and habits – things not touched on in trial – will be taken into consideration.
Ahead of the trial the prosecution lobbied to have eight of Chauvin’s prior arrests in which they argue he used excessive force admitted in court.
Judge Cahill deemed all but two inadmissible on the grounds that the incidents were not similar enough and that the prosecution were improperly trying to show Chauvin’s propensity to resort to unreasonable force.
At the time he made his decision Cahill said that the state was simply trying ‘to depict Chauvin as a “thumper”‘.
Ultimately the prosecution decided not to make the arrests part of their case-in-chief but they may be used in any bid to see Chauvin handed down a higher sentence then allowed by sentencing guidelines if convicted.
A second ground on which the prosecution could also ask for this applies to ‘crimes committed in front of children’. The state called nine-year-old Judeah as a witness possibly with this in mind.
According to the Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the presumptive sentence for a person such as Chauvin with no criminal history is the same for murder in the third and unintentional murder in the second; 12 and a half years. But the judge has discretion to sentence anywhere between ten years and eight months to 15 years.
If the judge rules that aggravating factors are present and departs from the guidelines, the maximum sentence would be 40 years for second-degree murder, 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
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