DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A jury in Dallas has reached a decision in the Amber Guyger trial. They found the 31-year-old guilty of murder for the death of Botham Shem Jean.
Around 10:30 a.m. more than half a dozen law enforcement officers filed into the courtroom, in anticipation of the verdict.
Guyger, a former police officer with the Dallas Police Department, was on trial for the 2018 death of Jean, her neighbor, who she shot in his own apartment. From her initial call to 911 and throughout the trial Guyger claimed she thought she had entered her own apartment and that she opened fire on Jean thinking he was a burglar.
- RAW VIDEO OF AMBER GUYGER VERDICT
After six days of witness testimony Judge Tammy Kemp gave jurors three options: to find Guyger guilty verdict of murder, guilty of manslaughter or not guilty. Jurors began deliberations on Monday but did not reach a decision after deliberating just a few hours.
Jurors resumed deliberations Tuesday and the alert button on the jury room lit several times during the morning. During one call to the court jurors sent a question asking about definitions of Manslaughter and about the Castle Doctrine — which makes a person’s use of force, even deadly force, reasonable if they are defending their home, car, or business.
Around 9:45 a.m. the jury call button lit up again, but it was never announced exactly why they summoned the court. Then, at 10:43 a.m. Judge Kemp took the stand and announced, “We the jury unanimously find the defendant, Amber Guyger, guilty of murder as charged in the indictment.”
Jean’s sister could be heard sobbing, as his mother raised her hands to the sky.
The judge asked defense lawyers if they wanted to have the jury polled and they declined.
Guyger sat, weeping, at the defense table.
The judge immediately called a recess and announced that court would resume at 1 p.m.
During the weeklong trial jurors heard tearful testimony from Guyger who said she saw a silhouette at the back of what we now know was Jean’s apartment. “That’s whenever I pulled my gun out.”
After firing two shots Guyger testified, “I walked fully inside the apartment. I still had my gun outside, since I didn’t even… at that point I didn’t know if it wasn’t [sic] if he was armed. It wasn’t ‘till that point when I got to the counter area when everything started realizing that I wasn’t even… this wasn’t my apartment.”
Defense attorneys told the court the events on September 6 were a “series of horrible mistakes” and reminded them that their client testified, “I was scared he was going to kill me.”
When questioned by the prosecution Guyger admitted that she stopped lifesaving aid on Jean twice to send text messages to her partner and former lover Sgt. Martin Rivera. They said she was distracted by the phone calls and sexually explicit text messages she was sending Rivera and missed a number of indicators that she was headed to and entering the wrong apartment.
And when prosecutor Jason Hermus asked the former officer, “When you shot at Mr. Jean you knew you were using deadly force against him?” she replied “yes”. When asked if she intended to kill Jean when she shot twice she also said “yes”.
After Guyger was found guilty of murder, civil attorneys representing Jean’s family said, “This jury has to make history in America today.”
With the sentence of murder Guyger faces between 5 and 99 years in prison.