Ex-cop Amber Guyger found guilty of murder in shooting death of Botham Jean

September 26, 2019

BY COURT TV STAFF

Updated 10/2/19

Amber Guyger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Botham Jean. Guyger faced 5 years to life in prison and the jury unanimously found that the murder did not arise out of “sudden passion.”

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A former Dallas, Texas, police officer is on trial for allegedly murdering a man after entering the wrong apartment. Amber Renee Guyger, 31, allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean on Sept. 6, 2018.

>>RELATED: TX v. Guyger: Ex-cop in wrong apartment murder trial takes the stand

Guyger, who had reportedly just finished a 15-hour shift, says she thought an unarmed Jean was an intruder in her apartment when she fatally shot him. She’s now facing life in prison for what her defense team calls a tragic accident and fatal error. Prosecutors claim the shooting was intentional.

On the night of Sept. 6, 2018, Guyger reportedly parked her car on the fourth floor of the South Side Flats apartment complex, instead of the third floor where she lived. Guyger told authorities she then walked into what she thought was her third-floor apartment, reportedly becoming alert when the door was ajar.

Guyger claims she then drew her firearm when she thought she had encountered a burglar, which she described as a large silhouette across the room. She says she gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean, prompting her to fire two times, striking him once in the torso.

Guyger says she then entered Jean’s apartment and immediately called 911 while attempting aid. She claims she didn’t realize she was in the wrong apartment until emergency services asked for her location. Jean was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries.

Courtesy of the Botham Jean Foundation

Shortly after, Guyger was charged with second-degree manslaughter and released after posting a $300,000 bond.

Two months later, she was charged with murder and released on a new bond of $200,000.

Throughout the investigation, different scenarios have arisen than what was portrayed by Guyger.

The day after the shooting, a search warrant seeking to recover evidence from Jean’s apartment reportedly describes an off-duty Dallas Police officer attempting to enter apartment #1478 with a set of keys. An unknown male, inside the apartment, confronts the officer at the door. A neighbor claims they heard an exchange of words, immediately followed by two gunshots.

A controversial viral video also emerged from the incident. Neighbor Ronnie Babbs recorded the aftermath of the shooting on her cellphone and posted it on social media. Babbs says she heard gunshots and a male voice say, “Oh my God, why did you do that?” The video, which was filmed from a lower floor through the staircase railings, appears to show Guyger talking on her phone and pacing back and forth.

Local news station WFAA also released Guyger’s 911 call despite District Judge Tammy Kemp’s gag order. In the call, Guyger tells the dispatcher multiple times she “thought it was (her) apartment.”

 

>>RECENT COVERAGE VIDEO

The trial of Texas v. Amber Guyger beings Sept. 23, 2019.

TIMELINE:

2018

  • Sept. 6: Amber Guyger shoots Botham Jean in the torso inside his apartment. He later dies from his injuries at Baylor University Medical Center. Public integrity division response team begins an investigation because it’s an officer-involved shooting. Guyger gives a blood sample either that night or the next morning. The results of the test have not been released.
  • Sept. 7: Police Chief U. Renee Hall announces that the case is no longer being investigated as an officer-involved shooting and that she will be seeking a warrant for Guyger’s arrest. Guyger has not been interviewed. Dallas police obtain a search warrant for Jean’s apartment.
  • Sept. 8: Texas Rangers take over the investigation. Guyger’s name is released to the public, even though police previously said they wouldn’t confirm her identity until she was formally charged.
  • Sept. 9: Guyger turns herself in. She is charged with second-degree manslaughter and released on a $300,000 bond.
  • Sept. 10: The Texas Rangers’ arrest warrant affidavit is made public. In it, Guyger says she mistook Jean’s apartment for hers and shot Jean under the mistaken belief he was a burglar.
  • Sept. 11: Texas State investigators execute search warrants seizing electronic door locks from both Jean’s and Guyger’s apartments. They also collected photos and videos from Jean’s apartment as well as gunshot residue and laser measurements of the firearm trajectory. The underlying affidavit outlining probable cause for the warrant was sealed.
  • Sept. 12: Another search warrant is granted to obtain surveillance footage from the night of the shooting and all entry and access logs for the complex.
  • Sept. 13: Botham Jean’s stateside funeral is held at the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ. Dallas police release an affidavit saying they recovered the following items from Jean’s apartment: two fired cartridge casings, a laptop, ballistic vest with “police” markings, 10.4 grams of marijuana, a marijuana grinder and two used packages of medical aid. The warrant does not specify the ownership of the items.
  • Sept. 24: Chief Hall fires Guyger. The Jean family demands the charges be upgraded to murder. Another funeral for Jean is held in St. Lucia.
  • Oct.: The Jean family sues Guyger and the city of Dallas for civil rights violations.
  • Nov. 30: Guyger is charged with murder. She is released on a new bond of $200,000.
  • Dec. 30: KDFW reports Dallas released an “extremely small portion of the Botham Jean incident report after an open records request from FOX4.” Incident reports are usually detailed, however, “in this case, all but the first four sentences, which contain basic information, are blacked out.” Outside of the listed offense, most of the other details were blacked out, including if Guyger was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

2019

  • Jan.: District Judge Tammy Kemp, who is overseeing Guyger’s murder trial, issues a gag order in the case.
  • April 25: Dallas Morning News reports that in the months since Amber Guyger fatally shot Jean, Dallas County prosecutors have dismissed at least 9 cases Guyger investigated as a police officer.
  • April 29: The 911 call Amber Guyger made moments after shooting Botham Jean in his own home is leaked to WFAA. Judge Kemp is furious and there’s a pending investigation into who violated the gag order. It has never been officially released by the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management.
  • July 8: Defense attorney asks for a change of venue, arguing Guyger cannot get a fair trial in Dallas. The prosecution objects.
  • Sept. 6: Jury selection begins.
  • Sept. 16: Jury of 12 and 4 alternates are selected.
  • Sept. 23: Trial of TX v. Amber Guyger begins.
  • Sept. 27: Amber Guyger takes the stand.
  • Oct. 1: A jury finds Amber Guyger guilty of murder. The penalty phase begins.

>>RELATED: The Amber Guyger trial: the questions yet to be answered

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