Derek Chauvin now eligible for a much harsher sentence in George Floyd murder

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A judge has found several "aggravating factors" that could put former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, in prison for decades.

When Chauvin killed George Floyd with a knee to the neck for more than nine minutes, it was with "particular cruelty" according to the judge who presided over the case. That opens the door to what's known as an "enhanced sentence" for Chauvin when he goes back to court on June 25.

When Floyd was killed, Chauvin was wearing the uniform. Now, in the Oak Park Heights prison, Chauvin is being guarded by officers in blue; the ex Minneapolis cop is housed in a maximum security facility until his sentencing late next month.

The 45-year old veteran officer was convicted in April of third degree murder, second degree unintentional murder, and second degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd last Memorial Day.

Judge Peter Cahill now says four aggravating factors may be taken into account when he sentences Chauvin, topped by the extreme cruelty of the act.

"There are actually a long list of factors that can enhance a sentence for murder, but there are only a few that the State offered up as being relevant here. One of them was that the crime was committed in the presence of the child. Another was that the crime was committed with other people, three other people, the other officers, another was that officer Chauvin committed the offense as an abuse of his position, by virtue of being a police officer," said Gil Soffer, ABC7's legal analyst.

Soffer says the defense will try to diffuse those aggravating elements during a sentencing hearing. Chauvin is looking at many additional years in prison.

"Without the application of these aggravating factors, Chauvin would realistically be looking at a sentence of between 10 years and a few months, and 15 years. With the application of these factors he's likely looking at the sentence as high as 30 years. So, it's a really substantial upward departure from what he would otherwise be getting in the absence of these factors," Soffer told the I-Team.

The three other police officers with Chauvin when George Floyd was murdered are still scheduled for trial in Minneapolis. With the Chauvin conviction, and now the possibility of an enhanced sentence, legal analyst Soffer says the road is much more difficult for those three ex-officers and may make plea deals more attractive.
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