Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 31, was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering neighbor Botham Jean, 26.
Both of them lived in at the South Side Flats apartment complex. She was on the third floor, and he was on the fourth. On the night of Sept. 6, 2018, however, she parked on the fourth floor garage after a shift at work, and made her way to Jean’s apartment. Guyger entered Jean’s apartment and fatally shot him.
Guyger’s defense said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, and entered accidentally (his door was having issues, and was not secure). She believed the victim was a burglar, and so she pulled out her gun. Guyger opened fire while fearing for her life, and only realized her error after the shooting, said the defense.
In other words, she killed a man in his apartment while believing he had broken into her home, when in truth she was the intruder.
There’s no dispute Guyger killed Jean. She admits she did. The question was whether she committed a crime. Guyger’s defense maintained that her mistakes were reasonable under the law. The defendant was tired after doing overtime, they said. She testified that she woke up at 5:30 a.m. that day, and didn’t always get a full night of rest.
The prosecution argued that there was nothing reasonable about Guyger’s actions: She killed a man after barging into his home; Guyger, a police officer, escalated the situation despite her training; after shooting Jean, she didn’t do nearly enough to save or console the dying victim even though she had other tools available.
“Other than with just one hand periodically–with interruptions–doing some compressions, did you really do anything else to try and help Mr. Jean?” prosecutor Jason Hermus in cross-examination. She said she did a sternum rub in an attempt to keep Jean breathing.
In closing arguments, the prosecution said Guyger was “caught in a lie” during her testimony.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]