DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Testimony began in the murder trial of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger on Monday.
Prosecutors presented the jury lurid text messages the former Dallas Police officer exchanged with her patrol partner Martin Rivera in the hours and minutes before she shot and killed Botham Jean inside his apartment.
Senior Corporal Rivera was on the phone with Guyger three minutes before the shooting and he said on the witness stand they were talking about work.
“To the best of my recollection I remember asking about the suspects to see if they ever confessed and I really don’t remember a whole lot about the conversation,” Rivera said.
Prosecutors say it’s telling that Guyger and her patrol partner deleted the text messages they exchanged that night on the day after the shooting.
Those messages have been recovered.
Corporal Rivera then testified about the racy text messages.
Prosecutor Jason Hermus: “Would you send provocative photographs of yourself to Amber Guyger?”
Corporal Rivera: “Uh, yes.”
One text from Guyger read, “Wanna touch?” around 9:30 the night of the deadly shooting.
At 10:02 p.m., Rivera received a text from Guyger, “I need you. Hurry.”
At 10:03 p.m., Guyger texted Rivera, “I *ucked up.”
Prosecutor said Guyger typed those last messages while she was on the phone with 911 saying she’s shot Jean.
Jean family attorney Daryl Washington called the messages revealing.
“At the time that Botham was struggling to take his very last breath, we saw a police officer who was more concerned about herself and was sending off text messages,” Washington said.
Earlier in the day, during the prosecution’s opening statements, the jury learned Botham Jean’s door was unlocked and Guyger was on the phone with her patrol partner minutes before the shooting.
Prosecutors revealed she had been engaging in a relationship with and was calling and texting most of that evening before she went to what she thought was her apartment, but instead went to Botham Jean’s apartment and shot and killed him, thinking he was an intruder.
Prosecutors described the last moments of Jean’s life inside his apartment on the night Guyger walked through his unlocked door.
“He was doing no harm to anybody which was his way,” said prosecutor Jason Hermus. “He was sitting in his living room in shorts and a T-shirt watching TV, eating a bowl of ice cream.”
Guyger claimed she mistakenly walked into the wrong apartment one floor above her own after finishing a long patrol shift.
But prosecutors told the jury she should have noticed Jean’s red doormat outside or the smell of marijuana he had been smoking.
They told the jury her claim of self defense doesn’t hold up especially the way she handled the moments before she opened fire.
“She doesn’t one time say he was coming at me, she doesn’t one time say he had a weapon, she doesn’t one time say he was scaring me, he made me fear for my life, none of that,” said Hermus.
Guyger’s defense attorney told the jury the confusing layout of the South Side Flats led Guyger down a hallway identical to hers and that 46 tenants had previously reported walking to the wrong apartment.
Robert Rodgers told the jury Guyger will testify during the trial and that an innocent mistake doesn’t qualify as an evil act.
“Amber Guyger firmly and reasonably believed she was in her own apartment,” said Rodgers. “Amber Guyger firmly and reasonably believed that she had confronted an intruder in her apartment. Amber Guyger firmly and reasonably believe that she had no choice she had options but to use her gun.”
Botham Jean’s sister Alissa Charles-Findley was the first prosecution witness who started the trial talking about her family’s emotional loss they still can’t accept.
“I miss him everyday single day,” said Findley. “Being in Dallas, it’s hard that he’s not here.”
Defense attorneys say the Guyger was on mental autopilot that night and not paying attention to the floor she was on.
They attribute what happened to an unfortunate set of circumstances that don’t add up to a crime.
The jury is made up of eight women and four men.
Five of the jurors are black, four are Hispanic, two are white and one is Asian.
If convicted of murder, Guyger faces up to life in prison.