Oct. 1 (UPI) — Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder Tuesday for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in his apartment a year ago.
Guyger shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment on Sept. 6, 2018. She said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar. Guyger lived one floor directly below Jean.
Cheers broke out in the hallway immediately following the verdict Tuesday.
“Nothing will bring Botham back, but today his family has found some measure of justice,” said civil attorney Ben Crump. “The jury’s thoughtful verdict sets a powerful precedent for future cases, telling law enforcement officers that they cannot hide behind the badge but instead will face justice for their wrongful action.”
Jean’s mother, Allison, said “God is good. Trust Him.”
The trial had three possible outcomes — manslaughter, murder or acquittal. During closing arguments, Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus rejected the argument that it’s unreasonable for a Dallas police officer with five years experience to shoot an unarmed man in the chest.
Defense attorney Toby Shook argued Jean’s death was a tragic mistake and said prosecutors must rule out every possible reasonable doubt for the jury. When asked on the stand whether she intended to kill Jean, Guyger said she did, saying she feared for her life.
The jury reached their decision the day after closing arguments.
During deliberations, the jury asked for clarifications on the definition of manslaughter and the castle doctrine.
Guyger’s conviction can result in a sentence of up to life in prison.