A Dallas county jury will certainly decide if Amber Guyger committed murder, manslaughter or no crime in ~ all when she shot and killed Botham Jean in 2018. And a judge claimed jurors can take into consideration the state"s castle Doctrine while deliberating.
by Tasha Tsiaperas and also Bradley Blackburn, WFAA-TV Sept. 30, 20194 PM central
A Dallas ar jury started deliberating Monday in the killing trial that a Dallas police officer who fatally shooting an unarmed male in his house after mistaking his apartment for her own. Amber Guyger, who was fired after ~ the 2018 shooting, lived one floor below 26-year-old Botham Jean, who functioned at the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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The shoot sparked outrage throughout the country, as countless called it another example the a white police officer death an unarmed black man. Defense attorneys have said there is no proof to indicate the shooting was racially motivated.
Guyger, 31, testified Friday that she mistook Jean"s fourth-floor apartment for she own, one floor below Jean"s. Guyger, that was off duty however still in uniform, said she thought he was a burglar. Guyger had just completed a virtually 14-hour work-related shift. She tested an unfavorable for drugs and also alcohol.
Jean to be sitting top top his couch eat vanilla ice cream cream topped with crumbled chocolate chip cookies and also watching TV as soon as Guyger incorrectly walked into his apartment. His laptop was open and also on. It appears he had actually airpods in his ears. He was dressed comfy, in shorts and also a T-shirt.
Jean's last moments
Guyger parked top top the fourth floor the night Jean died and walked to his fourth-floor apartment, i beg your pardon was directly a floor above her own.
Several residents of the southern Side Flats, where Guyger and Jean lived, have actually testified that they"ve likewise parked top top the not correct floor of the parking garage and even walked come the dorn apartment door.
Jurors were displayed dozens the crime step photos of Jean"s and also Guyger"s apartments. They likewise watched videos reflecting the walk indigenous the parking garage through the apartment hallways because that both the third and fourth floors.
There to be a glowing red doormat outside Jean"s apartment. His apartment was the only one through such a noticeable doormat ~ above the 3rd or fourth floor.
Guyger"s keys were in Jean"s door as soon as the an initial officers arrived. The doors at the apartments take an digital lock, i beg your pardon turns favor a common key.
Jean hadn"t locked his door as soon as he returned residence from running an errand. The door wasn"t completely closed and also latched the night the the shooting.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have various theories around where Jean was once he was shot. Prosecutors to speak he was still sit on the couch once Guyger shot him. Defense attorneys say Jean was walking or lunging towards her as soon as she traction the trigger.
Prosecution concentrated on Guyger's response
An arrest warrant because that Guyger stated she performed very first aid on Jean, yet evidence presented during the trial has actually not presented that to it is in the case.
Guyger was exterior Jean"s apartment when the an initial officers arrived, body-camera footage showed. There to be no blood uncovered on Guyger"s uniform, i beg your pardon was built up after the shooting.
Guyger texted her companion twice if she was on the phone v 911. Court testimony revealed Guyger and also her partner, martin Rivera, had actually previously remained in an intimate relationship. They had actually been sending out steamy message messages to each other throughout the afternoon and also evening.
While on the phone v 911, Guyger texted Rivera, "I require you...hurru up" and also "I
Guyger's testimony about the shooting
Guyger to be the first witness referred to as to the stand by the defense last week. Guyger ended up being emotional number of times ~ above the stand as she was questioned around her plot before and after she fatally hurt Botham Jean inside his apartment.
"I feel favor a item of crap," she testified. "I hate that I have to live with this every solitary day, and also I asking God for forgiveness and hate myself every solitary day."
While Guyger said she to be shocked after realizing she was in the not correct apartment and had just shot "an innocent man," the prosecution wondered about why she didn"t speak to for back-up from the start as soon as she heard motion inside the unit.
The prosecution additionally alleged Guyger seemed more focused top top herself than Jean, discussing that she didn"t properly provide CPR and sent message to her previous police partner before officers landed on the scene.
"All this talk about a sad mistake, as soon as the rubber meets the road, girlfriend intended to kill Mr. Jean," prosecutor Jason Hermus said.
"You to plan to death Mr. Jean," Hermus asked.
"I did," she testified.
What the jury is considering
The jury will take into consideration whether to convict Guyger of murder or manslaughter. Part of the deliberations will certainly be to recognize whether Guyger fairly thought she was inside her very own apartment at the time of the shooting and whether a reasonable human in her place would have shot Jean in self-defense, as she alleges.
If judge of murder, Guyger encounters up to life in prison.
The former officer was originally taken right into custody ~ above a manslaughter charge yet was later indicted on a murder charge.
The killing indictment says Guyger deliberately shot Jean, resulting in his death. A manslaughter charge would mean Guyger action recklessly.
Murder tote a sentence of as much as life in prison. Manslaughter, i m sorry is a second-degree felony, tote a sentencing selection of 2 to 20 years. If Guyger is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to less than 10 years in prison, she might receive probation.
There is a precedent in police shootings to encompass a lesser charge of manslaughter.
In the case of fired Balch Springs Officer Roy Oliver, the jury was offered the option to uncover him guilty of killing or that manslaughter in the fatality of Jordan Edwards.
The jury at some point convicted Oliver that murder.
What is the castle Doctrine, and also how go it element in?
On Monday, referee Tammy Kemp permitted jurors to consider what"s referred to as the "Castle Doctrine" in their deliberations. In general, such regulations say civilization are enabled to usage deadly force without retreating first in their populated homes, vehicles or workplaces. Texas passed a castle Doctrine law, removing the duty come retreat in one"s home, in 1995.
In 2007, Texas passed a law that goes more than the lock Doctrine. The Texas legislation removed the duty to retreat for human being who are attacked, as lengthy as they have the "right come be current at the place where the force is used." In various other words, Texans are permitted to use pressure in self-defense prior to retreating as long as they room not intruding on private property.
Police relations with areas of color
Unlike numerous headline-grabbing cases of police officers killing unarmed human being of color, Guyger was not on duty when she eliminated Jean. And, according to testimony, she believed he was an intruder in her home.
But Dallas" black ar has closely followed each action of Guyger"s trial. Changa Higgins, a neighborhood activist and leader of the Dallas neighborhood Police monitor Coalition, said it"s hard to ignore the background of American regulation enforcement policemans killing unarmed people of color without being prosecuted or convicted.
While it is very rare because that a jury to judge a police officer that murder, a Dallas county jury critical year did simply that. Former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver was sentenced come 15 years in jail for fatally shooting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.
“This situation is type of different. The circumstances, the means she take it his life are so blatant, whether it to be an accident or not,” Higgins said. “This case shows us that black color lives can be bring away in this way, even when you are doing whatever in life the means you are claimed to.”
Former Dallas police officer Vana Hammon Parham is hopeful that no matter what the verdict is, police relationships with areas of color aren"t strained.
"In every honesty, I believe that Dallas will certainly come with each other regardless of what happens," she said. "Regardless of what the jury decides, there will be some healing on both sides."
Jean remembered together a "beautiful person"
Jean"s family members have been in court every work to listen to the testimony. Hundreds gathered in a Dallas ballroom Sunday night — i beg your pardon would have been Jean’s 28th date of birth — to honor his life in ~ a “red tie” event. Red to be Jean’s favorite color. The event additionally raised money because that the Botham Jean Foundation.
"We are strong because there"s no other selection but to it is in strong," said Jean"s mother, Allison Jean. "We space hoping that this week we gain a date of birth gift because that Botham, and that will certainly be justice for him."
Allison Jean claimed it has been extremely an overwhelming to be in the courthouse for the trial, as attorneys replay human body camera footage and detail the last moments of she son"s life. Friday, she to be there come hear directly from Guyger herself together she provided her emotionally account the the event on the stand in her very own defense.
"My kid was a beautiful person. And the means he passed away was just wrong," Allison Jean said.
Contributions come the Botham Jean foundation will walk toward tasks Jean was already supporting in life, including efforts to administer clean drink water and combat poverty roughly the world.
"We will carry out it because that him," stated Jean"s sister Alissa Findley.
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Juan Pablo Garnham that The Texas Tribune and also Rebecca Lopez of WFAA contributed to this story.
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