The former Minneapolis police officer found guilty of murdering Australian life coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond claims he should be acquitted because he did not act “with a depraved heart” when he shot her dead.
Mohamed Noor’s lawyers filed a motion for judgment of acquittal in the District Court in Minnesota on Tuesday.
A jury found Noor was guilty of third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after a three-week trial in Minneapolis last month.
“The evidence at trial failed to support finding that Mr Noor acted with a depraved heart,” Noor’s lawyers wrote in the filing.
“When Officer Noor fired that night he was not acting with depraved mind seething with wanton passion to cause mischief.”
Ms Damond, 40, formerly of Sydney’s northern beaches, was home alone in Minneapolis just before midnight on July 15, 2017 when she heard a woman’s screams.
She called 911 and when Noor’s police squad car arrived in the alley at the rear of her home she approached the vehicle.
Noor and his partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, testified Ms Damond startled them, they feared an ambush and Noor said he made the split-second decision to shoot across his partner and out the car window at Ms Damond.
Ms Damond, wearing a pink t-shirt, pyjama pants and bare feet, was shot in the stomach and died soon after.
Noor, 33, a Somali immigrant who had only been an officer for 21 months before the shooting, faces a 12.5-year prison term when sentenced on June 7.
“Mr Noor reacted to a dark alley in the middle of the night, a thump on the squad, a voice, a body appearing at the driver’s side window, the startled announcement of fear by Officer Harrity as he reached for his firearm, and his observation that the person in the window was raising their right arm,” the lawyers wrote.
“Mr Noor’s actions to defend his partner and himself, in the context of that night, are not evidence of the depraved mind envisioned by Minnesota courts for the last hundred years.”
Ms Damond’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and received a record $US20 million ($A29 million) settlement.
Noor, who was sacked from the police force after being charged last year, is in custody ahead of his sentencing.