DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While the Dallas police officer who shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean in his own apartment last week has been arrested and charged, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said today the final decision on what charge/charges Officer Amber Guyger will face has not been made.
During a morning press conference Johnson said, “The Texas Rangers made the decision to issue an arrest warrant for Manslaughter. The ultimate decision, in terms of what this charge will be, will be presented to the grand jury. Faith Johnson, your Dallas County District Attorney, has taken on this case and believe me we will make certain that justice is done in this case.”
According to Texas penal code, the difference between Murder and Manslaughter is intent. If a life was taken with malice then the suspect is said to have committed murder, but if the death was not reckless or committed with malice then the offence is said to be manslaughter.
Promising that “we will get to the bottom of everything” Johnson explained that the case had been turned over to the Texas Rangers but, “Now this case is in the hands of the Dallas County District Attorney and we are going to… my staff said to me yesterday, ‘Judge I’ve only gotten 8 hours sleep in 4 days.’ So that tells you exactly our commitment to this case.”
Before the press conference Monday the Dallas County Medical Examiner determined the manner of death for Botham Jean as homicide, with his cause of death being a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen.
Jean, a native of St. Lucia, was shot by Officer Guyger after she said she mistook his apartment for her own. Despite living just blocks from Dallas police headquarters, Guyger was arrested on a Manslaughter charge, booked into the Kaufman County Jail on Sunday evening, posted $300,000 bond, and was released that same night.
Police say Guyger, 30, had worked a full shift Thursday evening when she went home to her apartment complex, the Southside Flats in the 1200 block of South Lamar, but parked on the wrong floor of the complex’s garage and went to the wrong unit.
During a press conference Friday Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said Guyger, a four-year veteran of the department, was, “… still in uniform when she encountered Mr. Jean in the apartment. At some point she fired her weapon, striking the victim.”
Officials said Guyger’s blood was drawn at the scene to be tested for alcohol and drugs, but those results have not been released.
Dallas police handed the investigation over to the Texas Rangers last week. When asked today why it took so long for Officer Guyger’s name to be released and why it was three days before she was arrested and charged DA Johnson made it clear her office was not a part of that investigation and did not issue the arrest warrant.
Johnson further said she would not talk about the facts of the investigation so as not to compromise the integrity of the case because, “We want to be able to — whatever happens with this case — just like in the Roy Oliver case, we want to make certain that this case stays in Dallas County.”
Sunday night Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings sent a tweet thanking the police department, the Texas Rangers and the community. During the Monday press conference the Mayor said, “Botham was a model citizen and when you lose someone like that in this way… we mourn and our heart breaks with the family.”
The Mayor promised transparency during the shooting investigation but said, “Justice is a relay race it is not a 40-yard dash and we have some great baton passes that have taken place in the last few days.”
Jean’s family arrived in Dallas on Saturday and met with Mayor Rawlings before attending a vigil at the church Jean attended — Dallas West Church of Christ.
Members of the Jean family stood beside DA Johnson during her press conference and held a briefing of their own a short time after. It was there that St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Michael Chastanet said, “I would like to have come to Dallas under different circumstances” and talked of how proud he was of Both and what he represented.
Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, made a brief statement saying, “What we want… we are not satisfied that we have all the answers. And the number one answer that I want is, what happened? I’ve asked too many questions and I’ve been told that there are no answers yet.”
Allison Jean went on to say that she is looking forward to the “powers that be” conducting the investigation and getting all the answers to satisfy her that “they are doing what is in the best interest of getting justice for Botham.”
Botham Jean earned a bachelor’s degree from Harding University in Arkansas and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday.