DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Botham Shem Jean’s mother, Allison Jean was the prosecution’s first witness in the punishment phase of the Amber Guyger murder trial, which began a few hours after the verdict.
She spoke about how her son’s violent death has impacted her life.
“My life has not been the same… like a roller coaster. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. It’s just been the most terrible time for me,” said Allison. “I’ve been sick often. But I have to try to keep the family together, because everyone is in pain.”
Composed and wearing red from head-to-toe (Botham’s favorite color), Allison recalled the time Botham surprised her in Saint Lucia for Mother’s Day.
“He surprised me. I heard his voice. I thought I was dreaming. He came all the way from Arkansas to Saint Lucia to surprise me,” she said tearfully.
Allison Jean told the jury about her son’s life; a life dedicated to helping others through music and mission work.
“We have a simple life; one of faith. That’s how we raised our children,” she said.
- RAW VIDEO OF AMBER GUYGER VERDICT
Botham was born on Sept. 29, 1991 in Castries, Saint Lucia, an island in the eastern Caribbean.
He was born 10 years after his older sister, Allisa Findley, and 10 years before his younger brother, Brandt Jean.
Allison shared with the court that she is “very concerned ” about Brandt since his brother’s murder at the hands of Amber Guyger. “Botham was my middle child. I always referred to him as the glue between my three kids.”
At an early age, Botham was self-assured and ready to dedicate himself to Christ, his mother said as she recalled memories of her son as photos were shown to the jury.
In his early teens, Botham began preaching.
When it was time for college, Botham had his mind set on one place – Harding University, a private Christian school with its main campus in Searcy, Ark.
“I wanted him to study in the West Indies, but he was always a headstrong child,” Allison shared.
Botham went on to college and started performing with the Good News Singers, Harding University’s Christian a cappella group.
Allison described the time Botham sang to a blind man and helped an elderly woman with her home.
“That’s my Botham.”
After graduating in 2016, Jean was hired as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, known a PwC, in Dallas. He soon found a new place to sing at the Dallas West Church of Christ, where he became a song leader. The church was his home of worship up until his death.
When asked about how old Botham would have turned on his last birthday, Allison’s last words to the court were a correction.
The attorney said Botham dedicated 27 years to serving his family, community and faith.
Allison responded, “No, actually 26 years. He died a few days before he would have turned 27.”
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have a lot more latitude to introduce emotion into this portion of the trial, which is like a separate trial with witnesses, closing arguments and jury deliberations.
Prosecutors plan to enter Guyger’s Dallas Police Department personnel file which includes violations for adverse conduct and her social media accounts, which included some controversial memes that were posted.
Allison last spoke to Botham on September 5, the night before he died.