The former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of her neighbor Botham Jean, after entering her apartment and shooting him. The officer had said in her defense that she confused the neighbor’s apartment with his and that upon entering, she thought he was a thief and shot him.
“After a week and a half of intense and emotional testimonies, a Dallas County jury found former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder in the death of his neighbor Botham Shem Jean and was sentenced to 10 years in prison” , reads in the press release released by the office of prosecutor John Creuzot.
In the room, they say, were Jean’s parents, Allison and Bertrum, as well as other family members, who broke into tears upon hearing the verdict.RELATED
The decision came on Wednesday after a jury debated the sentence of Guyger, 31, who was convicted of the death of Jean, 26, just a day earlier.
Guyger testified that when he returned home in uniform after a long shift that night, he put his key in what he thought was the lock on his door and the door opened because it was not completely closed. Fearing it was a robbery, he pulled out his service weapon, He entered and found a figure in the dark.
“Show your hands! Show me your hands!” Said Guyger who insisted on the man. He explained that couldn’t see his hands and that he started approaching her walking at “fast pace”. She said he shouted: “Hey! Hey! Hello!” Just before she opened fire.
“I was afraid she would kill me,” she said when questioned by her lawyers, who called her as her first witness on the fifth day of the trial. She assured that He intended to kill him when he pulled the trigger because he had been trained as a police officer for that.
The story received national attention in the context of the multiple deaths of African-Americans at the hands of white police.
On Friday during the trial, the ex-officer told the jury that she regretted killing her neighbor and that she would have to live with guilt every day. But during the interrogation, prosecutors questioned Guyger, they asked why he didn’t ask for reinforcements instead of confronting Jean and questioning his attempts to save his life.
Guyger repeatedly apologized for killing the man while speaking publicly for the first time about the events of that night. “I hate having to live with this every day of my life and I apologize to God, and I hate myself every day,” he said as he looked through the courtroom to Jean’s family.
Guyger, who was fired after the shooting, said he wished “he had been the one with the gun” and killed her. “I never wanted to take the life of an innocent person. And I’m very sorry. This is not about hate. It’s about being afraid that night,” he defended.
In photos: The unusual death of Botham Jean, shot by an officer in his own apartment
Jean grew up on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia and then emigrated to the United States to go to college. His death attracted attention because of his strange circumstances and because he was one of a long history in this country of unarmed black men who are shot by white police.
Lead prosecutor Jason Hermus suggested that Guyger was not very distressed after the shooting, and said that two days after she shot Jean, Guyger asked his fellow police officer, with whom he was romantically involved, If I wanted to go drink something.
Hermus also asked Guyger why he didn’t ask for help on the radio when he thought his supposed house was stolen. She replied that go through the door with her gun drawn “It was the only option that crossed my mind.”
The prosecutor also questioned why she did not make cardiopulmonary resuscitation to Jean after the shot. He asked about an eight-hour training course to de-escalate dangerous situations he had taken in April, but Guyger told the jury that I could no longer remember what I learned in the course. He explained that he applied some chest compressions to Jean with one hand while using his phone with the other .
Guyger said he shot in self-defense after confusing Jean with a thief and his lawyers said the appearance of the floors in his complex often led tenants to park on the wrong floor or try to enter the wrong apartments.
Prosecutors have questioned how Guyger could have lost numerous signs that he was in the wrong place and suggested that she was distracted by sexually explicit telephone messages with her fellow police officer. They say Jean was not a threat to Guyger, noting that he was on his couch eating a bowl of ice cream When she entered her apartment. When the man got up from the chair to see who was entering his house, Guyger shot him in the chest.
In a frantic 911 call that was heard in court last week, Guyger said almost 20 times: “I thought it was my apartment.”