DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than a month after she was indicted for murder, the first court hearing for fired Dallas police officer Amber Guyger took place Tuesday morning.
The procedural hearing was between Judge Tammy Kemp, attorneys for the state, and Guyger’s defense team. Guyger wasn’t required to attend the hearing, but arrived at the Crowley Courts Building before 8:00 a.m.
A CBS 11 News crew was there and captured video of Guyger as she entered the building. It’s the first time we’ve seen her since she turned herself in to authorities after being indicted.
While the 30-year-old was in the building she did not make an appearance in the courtroom, because the hearing was held behind closed doors in the judge’s chambers.
The paperwork done today was the first step toward Guyger’s murder trial.
After the hearing Botham Jean family attorney Daryl Washington told CBS 11 he was at the court to act as the eyes and ears for the family.
“It’s very difficult for them. Obviously they don’t understand the entire process that we go through here in the United States,” he said. “So, it’s just been very tough for them being thousands of miles away from here and not knowing what’s going on [and] what each hearing is going to be about. It’s just been very tough on them.”
A grand jury indicted Guyger for the shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean. It was in September of 2018 when Guyger, who was off-duty at the time, walked into a unit at the South Side Flats apartments that she says she mistook for own and shot Jean twice.
The four-year police veteran says she thought Jean was an intruder.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Jean died from gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. His death was ruled a homicide and Guyger was fired from the Dallas Police Department.
Dallas police handed the investigation over to the Texas Rangers and after investigating they recommended an indictment for Manslaughter.
Despite living just blocks from Dallas police headquarters, Guyger was arrested on the Manslaughter charge, booked into the Kaufman County Jail and released on a $300,000 bond that same night.
It wasn’t until November, after Dallas County prosecutors convened a grand jury, that Guyger was indicted her for Murder. This time she turned herself in at the Mesquite Jail, posted a $200,000 bond and has been free ever since.
The case has attracted international attention since Jean, who attended college in Arkansas and worked for the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm in Dallas, was a native of St. Lucia.
During today’s hearing the judge also issued a gag order preventing attorneys, on both sides, from discussing the case prior to and during the trial. Part of that order said — “Serious comments have been made that pose an imminent threat to the constitutional rights of the defendant.”
With the case in the spotlight, Guyger’s attorneys had previously said they were considering requesting a change of venue. The actual murder trial isn’t expected to get underway for several months.