DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The judge in the trial of former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger, who was convicted of murdering her neighbor, Botham Shem Jean, gave the jury instruction on a legal defense that could reduce the officer’s sentencing range.
The jury convicted Guyger of murder Tuesday in the September 2018 killing of Jean. In Texas, the penalty for murder is anywhere from five years to life in prison.
But Judge Tammy Kemp said Wednesday that jurors will receive written guidance on the law regarding a so-called “sudden passion defense.”
If the jury accepts that Guyger’s actions were taken in the heat of the moment, it could reduce the sentencing range to two to 20 years.
Guyger says she shot Jean after mistaking his apartment for her own, which was directly below. She was fired after the shooting.
Testimony in the sentencing phase resumed just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
The first person to take the stand for the prosecution was Alexis Stossel, Botham’s friend and former Harding University college mate.
At some time today lawyers are expected to call witnesses to the stand in Guyger’s defense, including some of her former fellow officers and her parents.
Both the prosecution and the defense are under a gag order.