In Sept. of 2018, fired Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered the apartment of Botham Jean. She had mistaken Jean’s apartment for her own. Guyger assumed that Jean was an intruder, and fired two fatal shots into his chest.
A few days later, an arrest warrant was issued for the arrest of Guyger, where she was charged with manslaughter. Guyger was then released on a $300,000 bond and was put on administrative leave from her position with the Dallas Police Department.
Jean was an accountant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and was described as church-going and hardworking. Several days after the incident, family and friends gathered at the church Jean attended.
“A nuke had been unleashed on our family by someone charged to protect and serve.” said Jean’s uncle.
Within a few weeks, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall announced that Guyger had been fired from the police department after an internal affairs investigation revealed that Guyger “engaged in adverse conduct” when she administered the fatal shot.
In Nov. of 2018, Guyger was indicted on one account of murder, to which she plead not guilty. Her trial was set to begin in the fall of 2019.
Between her indictment and the beginning of Guyger’s trial, footage of both the 911 call Guyger made and of the scene immediately following the shooting were released, prompting controversy within the media.
On Sept. 23, 2019, Guyger’s trial began. Prosecuting attorneys asked the judge to convict Guyger of murder, stating claims that she gave Jean no time to de-escalate or to surrender. Guyger’s defense team said that these accusations turn an innocent accident into an evil act.
Jurors were then shown bodycam footage of the scene of the shooting that was taken once officers responded to Guyger’s 911 call. In one part of the video, officers are shown desperately trying to revive Jean while he lay unconscious on his living room floor.
Texas Ranger David Armstrong testified on behalf of Guyger, saying that he believes Guyger “did not commit a crime” based on evidence from the investigation. Armstrong believes that is was a “reasonable response to perceive Jean as a deadly threat”.
Three days after the initial trial, Guyger testified on behalf of herself, telling the jury the moment she noticed Jean was in what she thought was her apartment.
“I was scared to death,” she testified.
On Oct. 1, 2019, Amber Guyger was convicted of murder. Guyger was then sentenced to ten years in prison for the killing of Botham Jean. Prosecutors originally recommended 28 years sentencing, as that was the age Jean would have turned this year.
Jean’s mother said that Guyger’s sentence would give her time to reflect on and change her life for the better.
Guyger will be eligible for parole in five years.