DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Jury selection continued Friday for the upcoming murder trial of former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger.
Today District Judge Tammy Kemp weeded through the questionnaires of several hundred potential jurors. As it stands she is trying to narrow the jury pool from 400 down to 220. Those people will then be posed with questions that are even more in-depth, as it relates to the Guyger trial.
The terminated Dallas officer arrived at the Frank Crowley Courts Building just after 7:00 a.m. Her fate rests in the hands of 12 jurors — which the judge and attorneys from both sides are attempting to seat by the end of the day.
Those panel of men and women will be tasked with determining if Guyger intentionally shot Botham Jean after she entered his unit at the South Side Flats Apartments.
The demographics of the jury will be closely watched in the high-profile case that has drawn national attention. The circumstances of the shooting sparked outrage and critics, including Jean’s family, have questioned why Guyger was not taken into custody immediately after the shooting and whether race played a factor in her decision to use deadly force.
It’s been one year since Guyger, who was off-duty at the time, told investigators that she confused Jean’s apartment with her own and shot the 26-year-old accountant twice after mistaking him for an intruder.
Last week, on the anniversary of Jean’s death, hundreds of potential jurors were given questionnaires asking about their views and knowledge of the case. The opposing lawyers are expected to have eliminated many people based on their answers and will further cull the pool through questioning Friday.
“The consultants on both sides, as well as the defense and prosecution, are trying to look for trends, attitudes and opinions that might favor their position or might bias their position,” said UT Dallas Professor of Criminology Alex Piquero.
Attorneys for the former Dallas police officer have asked for a change of venue. Kemp has said she will first a attempt to seat a jury in Dallas County before considering moving the trial.
As it stands, Guyger’s murder trial is set to begin September 23.