Remember Amber Guyger who shot her neighbor, Botham Jean? Her claim was that he was an intruder. A jury declared the ex-Dallas police officer guilty of murder on Tuesday.
Guyger was granted a $300,000 bail bond but as it stands, she could be facing life in prison. She hasn’t been remanded in prison yet since the sentence is to be passed in the afternoon.
The courtroom was packed with several people. Many of them were family and friends of the deceased. Many of Jean’s loved ones wore red, to show solidarity with him. You could hear the audible gasps in the courtroom as Judge Tammy Kemp read out the decision of the jury.
Botham Jean’s family couldn’t hold back the emotions. They were seen crying and embracing each other after the hearing.
It was a herculean task for the jury. They had to weigh the options to decipher if Guyger was reasonable in her actions. The question was, did the prosecution provide enough evidence of intentional shooting? Or was it a case of reckless conduct and manslaughter?
After a whole week of trial, the jury was left to begin deliberation on Monday afternoon. As part of the process, they had to replay the call by Guyger to 911 after she shot the 26-year-old. They also had to look through the dramatic images from the bodycam of the officers who visited the scene.
The shooting occurred on September 6, 2018. On a fateful day, the ex-officer was in her uniform but was off duty. She shot Botham Jean twice at about 10 pm before hitting him in the chest. Guyger had returned from a shift that lasted over 13-hours with the crime response team of the Dallas PD.
While Guyger’s home was on the third floor, Jean lived one floor above hers. He was an accountant and a national of St. Lucia. Even though they resided in the same complex, they hadn’t met before.
This trial is among the most anticipated murder trials in the recent history of Dallas. The reason for this is the racial difference, while Jean was black, Guyger is white. One question that keeps cropping up is, “would the shooting have occurred if Jean was white?”
The attorney representing the Jean family, Lee Merritt, described the victory as huge. He said it wasn’t for the Jean family alone but for the rest of the black people resident in America.
While speaking to reporters, Merritt said, “It’s a signal that the tide is going to change here. Police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions, and we believe this is going to change the policing culture all over the world.”
Benjamin Crump, another attorney on the side of the Jean family, described Botham Jean as the perfect victim. This is because he was a young educated black man resting at home after a busy day at work.
According to prosecutors, Jean was eating ice cream while watching television. This was before Guyger burst into his living room. She must have scared him. Evidence from the bullet trajectory revealed he either tried to duck or was rising from his couch as she shot.
As part of her defense, Guyger explained to the jurors that she was afraid when she entered the apartment. According to her, the apartment looked like hers. This is an explanation for her shock, seeing a man walking toward her when she entered.
She said she never had the intention of taking his life, she was scared. The ex-cop said she couldn’t give Jean complete lifesaving aid because she had to place a call to 911. Asides this, she was still frantic.
Attorneys representing Guyger made a good effort at downplaying the fact that she had been exchanging texts with her partner. It was revealed when the trial began that she was on a call with her partner before the shooting.
The prosecutors had brought the issue up, in the beginning, to show that she wasn’t tired as described. Instead, she had plans to hook up with her partner on the same night.
According to the prosecutors, there were too many clues to show Guyger that she was entering the wrong apartment. The most conspicuous of these was the red mat in front of Jean’s apartment.