DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was one year ago today when Botham Jean was shot and killed by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. Today, the process of picking a jury for her Dallas County murder trial is underway.
A pool of potential jurors reported to the Frank Crowley Courthouse where they’ll most likely be questioned about everything from the officer-involved shootings of minorities in America, the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements and ultimately their ability to reach an unbiased decision.
There is no question that Guyger was still in uniform, but off-duty, when she entered Botham Jean’s unit at the South Side Flats Apartments, one that she claims to have thought was her own, and shot twice — hitting the unarmed man once in the torso.
Guyger wasn’t taken into custody until three days after the shooting. Then-Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson initially presented a manslaughter case to a grand jury, but jurors upgraded the charge to murder.
Prosecutors contend the shooting wasn’t an accident and charged Guyger with murder because they say she intended to shoot Jean. It isn’t known exactly what type of defense attorneys for Guyger will present.
Guyger was fired after an investigation led by the Texas Rangers. She’d been with the Dallas Police Department for four years.
Guyger’s lawyers have asked that the trial be moved. They argue “prejudicial” media coverage and the actions of public officials have made it too difficult to find 12 men and women, along with 4 alternate jurors, who can show no prejudice. District Judge Tammy Kemp says she will make that decision once the voir dire — initial juror examination process — is complete.
The pool of individuals called to downtown Dallas Friday included hundreds of potential jurors. The goal is to finalize a panel by September 13.
If there is no change of venue, Guyger’s murder trial is set to begin Sept. 23.