North America

Justine Damond Ruszczyk's family weep as 911 calls played in court

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Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk was known for being full of life but during a difficult day in a US court her family saw graphic autopsy and crime scene photos.

Justine Damond Ruszczyk's family wept in a Minneapolis court as they listened to the Australian life coach's haunting 911 calls and saw crime scene photos of her body lying in an alley, partially covered by a white sheet.

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, 33, has been charged with Ms Damond Ruszczyk's second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter.

Mr Noor has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

A jury has heard two 911 calls made by Justine Damond-Ruszczyk on the night of her death.
A jury has heard two 911 calls made by Justine Damond-Ruszczyk on the night of her death.
AAP

Ms Damond Ruszczyk's father, John Ruszczyk, her brother Jason Ruszczyk and American fiance Don Damond sat in the front row of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom on Wednesday.

Tears rolled down Mr Damond's cheeks as photos of Ms Damond Ruszczyk with the top of her head, bare feet and left hand sticking out from under the white sheet were shown to the jury on large screens in the courtroom.

Her glittery gold iPhone was lying near her feet.

Jason Ruszczyk put his head on his father's right shoulder and his dad patted him in comfort.

John Ruszczyk (L), the father of Justine Damond Ruszczyk, with his wife Marian Hefferen
John Ruszczyk (L), the father of Justine Damond Ruszczyk, with his wife Marian Hefferen.
AAP

The family members were also emotionally jolted as they heard Ms Damond Ruszczyk's voice on two 911 calls she made at 11.27pm and 11.35pm on 15 July, 2017, to report a woman screaming near an alley behind her Minneapolis home.

She heard the unknown woman call for help.

Ms Damond Ruszczyk, 40, formerly from Sydney, was home alone and on the 911 recording she sounds nervous and concerned as she relays her fears to the 911 operator.

"Hi, I can hear someone out the back and I'm not sure if she's having sex or being raped," Ms Damond Ruszczyk told the operator.

She called the second time when police did not immediately appear.

"No one is here and I was wondering if they got the address wrong," she asks the operator.

The operator reassures her police are on the way.

Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the killing of Justine Damond Ruszczyk.
Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the killing of Justine Damond Ruszczyk.
AP

The court heard on Tuesday when the police vehicle arrived in the alley, with Mr Noor in the front passenger seat and Officer Matthew Harrity driving, Ms Damond Ruszczyk ran down to the vehicle in her bare feet, dressed in her pyjamas and holding her iPhone.

As she approached the police vehicle on Officer Harrity's side, Mr Noor fired his gun from his seat. The bullet passed Officer Harrity's head, out the open driver's side window and struck Ms Damond Ruszczyk fatally in the stomach, the court heard.

The court heard Officer Harrity was "spooked" when Ms Damond Ruszczyk appeared suddenly in the darkness.

Mr Noor's legal team said Noor felt like he and Officer Harrity were the targets of an ambush and was acting in self-defence.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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