On September 6, 2018, a 26-year-old accountant from St. Lucia named, Botham Jean, was killed by 31-year-old Amber Guyger.
Guyger is a former Dallas police officer who walked one floor above her own, into the apartment of Jean and killed him. Three days after the shooting, on September 9th, she was arrested on a manslaughter charge and got her $300,000 bond paid on the same day. Faith Johnson, the Dallas County District Attorney, attended a press conference and said that the grand jury returned the murder charge after the law was explained and evidence was presented.
It was just before 10 in the evening. Jean was alone in his apartment living room eating ice cream and watching television. Prosecutors stated during the trial that the trajectory of the bullet told us that when Jean was shot, he was either cowering in fear or attempting to get up from his couch.
The trial began on September 23, 2019 and opened with Guyger’s affair with her partner on the city’s police force being brought to the light. Questions arose as to whether she was distracted because of a phone call with him just moments before the murder of her neighbor. Guyger’s defense attorney, Robert Rogers stated to the Jury not to believe that she was distracted that night, but was instead fatigued and acting on “autopilot.”
Text messages as well as social media comments were shown to the jurors. Among these messages and comments were disrespectful comments about Martin Luther King Jr., racist comments about fellow African American officers.
Guyger testified that after working long hours that night, she returned to what she thought was her apartment. In full uniform, but off duty, she noticed the door was slightly opened and it was completely dark. She saw a large silhouette and drew her firearm, thinking it was an intruder in her residence. She gave verbal comma
Bothands to Jean, but being within his rights and in his own home, he did not listen. After not complying, Guyger fired two shots and hit him once between his back and his stomach.
There were many clues that Guyger was at the wrong apartment. Jean kept a red floor mat outside of his apartment and Guyger did not have one. Guyger moved into the apartment building two months before the shooting, but she would have noticed the potted plants and other decorations on the walk from the parking garage to Jean’s apartment. Allisa Findley, Jean’s sister, told the jury that the smell of marijuana should have been coming from the apartment as well. Ever since he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, he was self medicating in the unit.
Of the 12 jurors, five were black, five were Hispanic or Asian, and two were white. The verdict that was reached is very different from other cases throughout the country, whereas police officers have been cleared of their charges and even approved to go back to work after the murder of an unarmed black man. Prosecutors asked the jurors to sentence Guyger to at least 28 years, which is supposed to be symbolic because Jean would have turned 28 last Sunday. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Guyger was forgiven and embraced in the courtroom by Brandt Jean, Botham’s brother. He made it be known that he was not speaking on behalf of his family, but forgave her and advised her to go to God and ask him and he will forgive her too.
Courtesy of CNN.