Amber Guyger found guilty of murder at trial in fatal shooting of neighbor Botham Jean – NBC News
Former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder on Tuesday for fatally shooting her neighbor, Botham Jean, after thinking he was an intruder when she mistakenly entered his apartment.
Guyger, who has been out on a $300,000 bond, faces a maximum of life in prison. She was not immediately taken into custody and is awaiting sentencing scheduled for later Tuesday afternoon.
There was an audible gasp in the packed courtroom as state District Judge Tammy Kemp read the jury’s decision, and Jean’s family later walked out crying and embracing, many wearing red — the victim’s favorite color.
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The jury was tasked with deciding whether or not Guyger, 31, acted reasonably when she used deadly force, and if the prosecution had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she intentionally killed Jean or if a lesser charge of manslaughter, which involves reckless conduct, was warranted.
Deliberations began Monday afternoon after a weeklong trial, which included the playing of the 911 call that Guyger made after shooting Jean, 26, and dramatic bodycam video from officers who responded to the scene.
Guyger was off-duty but in uniform when she shot twice at Jean on Sept. 6, 2018, just before 10 p.m., striking him in the chest. She had worked a 13-1/2-hour shift on the Dallas Police Department’s crime response team that day and parked on the fourth floor of the complex’s garage.
She lived on the third floor, and Jean, a 26-year-old accountant and native of the island nation of St. Lucia, lived directly above her. The two did not know each other.
The fatal shooting, which has led to one of the most anticipated murder trials in Dallas in decades, became a flashpoint on issues of police use of force and racial bias. Guyger is white and Jean was black, and the Jean family has questioned whether Guyger would have shot him if he were a different race.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family representing them in their civil case, applauded the verdict and called it a “huge victory” for them as well as “all black people in America.”
“It’s a signal that the tide is going to change here,” Merritt told reporters outside the court. “Police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions, and we believe this is going to change the policing culture all over the world.”