Murder defendant and former police officer Amber Guyger, 31, broke down in tears while testifying Friday. Jurors were sent out of the courtroom.
Guyger is on trial for the Sept. 6, 2018 shooting death of neighbor Botham Shem Jean, 26. Defendant and victim lived at the South Sides Flats apartments in Dallas. She had a residence on the third floor, while he lived on the fourth. The story is that she came home after overtime at work, but parked instead on the fourth floor. She walked to Jean’s apartment, and shot him.
The defense is arguing that Guyger mistook Jean’s apartment for hers, and that she initially believed he was a burglar. The prosecution said that Guyger made a series of inexcusable errors as she made her way to the apartment. There’s no legal cover for her to shoot Jean; this was murder, they said. Her defense, of course, is trying to argue the opposite: Jean’s death may have been a tragedy, but Guyger’s mistakes were reasonable and could be explained by exhaustion. She was protected by the law, they said.
Guyger testified beginning on Friday morning. She discussed how she’d often do overtime, and had actually requested time off to take place Friday, Sept. 7. The defendant also had some safety concerns about the apartment complex, where she had moved in mid-July 2018. Guyger would carry a pocket knife while walking her dog. When going to work, she would notice homeless people passed out on the patio chair in the pool area, she said. The defendant said they’d get in by jumping the fence, which wasn’t tall.
Guyger said in court that she woke up 5:30 a.m. that day. She didn’t always go to sleep right away about two or three nights a week. Sometimes this would last a few hours. She would catch up on sleep during Saturday mornings, she said.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]