A jury found Amber Guyger guilty Tuesday morning (Oct. 1) of murdering Botham Jean, in a national case that further spotlighted the ongoing tensions between the African-American community and police.
Guyger, a white woman, was off duty yet still in uniform, when she shot Jean, a black man, inside his apartment after alleging she thought he broke into her home, when in fact he was inside his own residence.
The 31-year-old former Dallas officer faces a maximum of life in prison.
The jury was tasked with deciding if Guyger was justified when killing Jean and if the prosecution proved without a shadow of a doubt that she intentionally killed Jean, or if a lesser charge of manslaughter was befitting.
At just before 10 PM on On Sept. 6, 2018, Guyger shot at Jean twice in the chest. Jean and Guyger lived in the same apartment building but did not know one another. She lived on the third floor and Jean, who immigrated to Texas from St. Lucia, lived above her.
Prosecutors said Jean, an accountant, was sitting on his couch watching television and eating ice cream when Guyger busted into his apartment scaring him. The trajectory of the bullet shows that Jean likely either got up from the couch or cowered when she shot him twice.
As Guyger took the stand in her own defense, she said she was scared when she entered the home she assumed was hers and saw Jean. Tearfully Guyger said she didn’t want to kill Jean but acted out of fear. “I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I’m so sorry,” Guyger said. “This is not about hate — it’s about being scared.”
Guyger owned up to not performing more life-saving measures but says it was because she had one free hand to call 911 and was frantic.