Derek Chauvin is found guilty of all three charges

How long will Derek Chauvin get in prison and what does the George Floyd verdict mean?

Chauvin’s maximum sentence could be 40 years for second-degree murder

Danielle Zoellner
New York
@dani__zoellner
Wednesday 21 April 2021 21:22
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Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused in the murder of George Floyd, was found guilty on all three counts he faced by a 12-person jury on Tuesday.

After hearing 15 days of court testimony and deliberating for about 10 hours, the jury was able to reach a unanimous decision on the three charges.

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Mr Floyd on 25 May, 2020 – after the former officer pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Police led Chauvin, who was out on bail, away from the courtroom in handcuffs following the jury's verdict – with Judge Peter Cahill revoking his bail. Chauvin will remain in police custody until his sentencing, which is scheduled for June.

The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota – the location of the death of Mr Floyd in May 2020 – has braced for the verdict, with the trial having been regarded as one of the most important civil rights cases in a generation.

How long will Chauvin be behind bars?

Chauvin was found guilty of two counts of murder – second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder.

The presumptive sentence for each murder charge was 12.5 years for a defendant like Chauvin, who has no prior criminal history, according to Minnesota's state guidelines.

But the state has asked for a stricter sentence for the former police officer due to several aggravating factors, including that the murder took place in front of children and that Mr Floyd was treated with "particular cruelty" by Chauvin. The state also said an extended sentence was necessary because the former officer "abused his position of authority."

The second-degree murder conviction could carry 40 years in prison, while third-degree murder could result in up to 25 years in prison.

Additionally, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, which could result in a maximum sentence of 10 years. But the presumptive sentence is four years for a defendant like Chauvin with no prior criminal history, according to state guidelines.

In theory, Chauvin could face a maximum of 75 years in prison. However, state law dictates that people are sentenced according to the top count e.g. for second-degree murder, which carries a maximum 40-year sentence. In this instance, Judge Cahill could opt to ignore state law, but this would be unusual.

Chauvin had the opportunity to decide if he wanted the jury to determine if aggravating factors existed in the murder, but he waived that right.

Judge Cahill will now determine if aggravating factors exist and decide the length of prison sentence for Chauvin. In Minnesota, defendants serve about two-thirds of their prison sentences with the rest on parole.

The Associated Press contributed to this report