Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled Thursday the third-degree murder charge will be reinstated in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The third-degree murder charge delayed jury selection Monday and has a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Prosecutors will need to show that George Floyd died at the hands of an “obviously dangerous” act, the Associated Press reported.
While the charge was originally taken off, the Court of Appeals ruled in February that it was appropriate in the case of another former police officer convicted in a 2017 shooting, FOX 9 reported. Co-counsel for the state Neal Katyal reportedly argued the charge must be reinstated because of this decision.
Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson reportedly disagreed. Nelson suggested the two cases were different, as firing a gun puts others at the scene in potential danger, FOX 9 reported. Ultimately, Cahill ruled Thursday that the much-debated charge was to be reinstated. (RELATED: Here’s How Derek Chauvin Plans To Defend Himself)
Chauvin now faces a third-degree murder charge in addition to second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The trial is set to begin no earlier than March 29. Currently, jury selection is ongoing — a process that could take weeks. As of Thursday morning, five jurors had reportedly been seated. The trial cannot move forward until 12 jurors and two alternates have been selected.