Murder of Botham Jean
On September 6, 2018, off-duty Dallas Police Department patrol officer Amber Guyger entered the Dallas, Texas, apartment of Botham Jean and fatally shot him. Guyger said that she had entered the apartment believing it was her own and that she shot Jean believing he was a burglar. The fact that Guyger, a white police officer, shot and killed Jean, an unarmed black man, and was initially only charged with manslaughter resulted in protests and accusations of racial bias. On October 1, 2019, Guyger was found guilty of murder. The next day, she received a sentence of ten years in prison.
|Date||September 6, 2018|
|Location||Dallas, Texas, United States|
Guyger's apartment was on the third floor, directly below Jean's apartment on the fourth, in an apartment building with mostly identical floor plans on each level. Guyger testified that she thought the apartment was her own, and that she found the door slightly ajar, and she testified that she thought Jean was an intruder in the darkened living room of her apartment—when in fact Jean was killed in his own apartment. She claimed she feared Jean would kill her. Jean was unarmed.
After Guyger shot Jean, she called 9-1-1. Jean was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his wound. The Texas Rangers investigated the shooting, which led to Guyger's arrest three days later.
Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter, but was later charged with murder. The initial charge of manslaughter and the racial aspect of the shooting resulted in protests in the following days.
Botham Shen Jean
September 29, 1991
|Died||September 6, 2018 (aged 26)|
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Cause of death||Gunshot wound|
|Known for||Murder victim|
Following the shooting, an attorney representing Jean's family accused the Dallas police department of attempting to "smear" Jean's reputation based on a police affidavit showing that police seized 10.4 grams of marijuana from Jean's apartment. The lawyers also disputed the account of the incident that Guyger told officials, which was recorded in the arrest warrant affidavit, and asserted that two independent witnesses had come forward to give recollections that conflicted with Guyger's account. An attorney for Jean asserted that witnesses claimed they heard knocking on the door to Jean's apartment and that a witness claimed they heard a woman's voice saying "Let me in, let me in."
Amber Renée Guyger (born August 9, 1988) was 30 years old at the time of the shooting. She had been on the Dallas police force for nearly five years.
|Occupation||Former police officer|
|Employer||Dallas Police Department|
|Criminal penalty||10 years in prison|
(5 years non-parole)
|Date||September 6, 2018|
On September 22, 2019, the day before the trial began, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot took part in an interview regarding the trial in spite of a gag order issued by Judge Tammy Kemp in January of that year. After questioning jurors, who reported that they had not seen the interview or other media coverage of the trial, Kemp denied the defense's motion for a mistrial, and sequestered the jury.
According to NPR, "Under Texas law, convicting a defendant of murder requires proving someone intentionally killed another person, as opposed to manslaughter, in which prosecutors have to show someone was killed because of recklessness."
The prosecutors alleged criminal intent for two reasons: one, the distraction that caused her to drive to the wrong floor and go to the wrong apartment was not caused by tiredness after working a 13.5 hour shift, but rather caused by the conversation she had immediately prior with her lover trying to arrange a meeting that night, and secondly that she did not follow standard police protocol of not entering a building with a potential burglar inside and instead calling for backup from the police station, which was two blocks away. :
On October 2, 2019, Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison after the jury deliberated for an hour. During the sentencing hearing, Jean's mother Allison provided emotional testimony and some of Guyger's text messages and social media posts that were "racist and offensive" were shared. Jean's younger brother Brandt forgave and hugged Guyger during her sentencing. Jean's father Bertrum also stated that he forgave Guyger but had wanted a stiffer sentence. The trial judge Tammy Kemp, who is also African American, drew controversy when she embraced Guyger and handed her a Bible, with the Freedom from Religion Foundation criticizing her for alleged proselytizing.
On January 31, 2019, ABC News reported that one witness, identified as "Bunny" provided video evidence of the aftermath of the shooting to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, in addition to publishing it online. She claims that as a result of the video, she received harassment and death threats. She also claims that the pharmaceutical company she worked at terminated her after a slew of phone calls to the company calling her a "radical," "anti-police" and "a black extremist", and that the company revoked her credentials.
On October 4, 2019 at 10:40 pm, prosecution witness and Jean's across-the-hall neighbor, Joshua Brown, was ambushed in an apartment complex parking lot and shot twice. He was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Despite social media rumors that Brown was killed at the same apartment where Guyger shot Jean, it was revealed that Brown was in fact killed at a different apartment complex located about five miles from Jean and Guyger's old complex and that he had at some point moved out of that complex and took up residence in the complex where he was killed. Witnesses could not identify the physical features of the shooter(s), but said they saw them speed out of the parking lot in a silver four-door sedan after firing multiple gunshots at Brown. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also stated that while Brown was shot more than once, it was not in either the mouth or head as rumored on social media. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, who is black, also refused to jump to conclusions on the motive for the shooting and instead encouraged people to come forward with information that could provide help with the ongoing investigation.
On October 8, Dallas Police announced that they had three suspects arrested in Brown's killing and stated that they were involved in a drug deal that turned deadly. Brown's attorney said he was glad that the Dallas Police had apprehended suspects but called for an independent investigation by another agency. Advocates expressed doubt that three men would travel 300 miles to purchase drugs from Brown.
- "Dallas officer goes home to wrong apartment, kills man inside". Fox 4. September 7, 2018.
- Manna, Nichole (September 13, 2018). "Dallas police officer's arrest affidavit contradicts search warrant for victim's apartment". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Ortiz, Erik; Johnson, Alex (October 2, 2019). "Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years for murdering neighbor Botham Jean". NBC News. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
Guyger is white, and Jean, a native of the island nation of St. Lucia who moved to Dallas for a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers, was black. His death stoked protests, led to Guyger's firing and renewed conversations about police use of force and racial bias.
- Sanchez, Ray (October 2, 2019). "Amber Guyger's offensive text messages are introduced at her sentencing". CNN. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
- Allyn, Bobby (October 1, 2019). "Ex-Dallas Officer Who Killed Man In His Own Apartment Is Found Guilty Of Murder". NPR. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
- "Amber Guyger found guilty of murder at trial in fatal shooting of neighbor Botham Jean". NBC News.
- "Victim's brother hugs ex-cop after sentencing in wrong-apartment murder". ABC News.
- Ortiz, Erik (October 1, 2019). "Amber Guyger Found Guilty of Murder at Trial in Fatal Shooting of Neighbor Botham Jean". NBC News. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- "Ex-Dallas cop found guilty of murder in neighbor's death". www.cbsnews.com.
- Martinez, Marina Trahan; Mervosh, Sarah; Eligon, John (October 2, 2019). "Former Dallas Police Officer Is Guilty of Murder for Killing Her Neighbor" – via NYTimes.com.
- Donaghue, Erin (October 1, 2019). "Ex-Dallas cop found guilty of murder in neighbor's death". CBS. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
- Emily, Jennifer (September 14, 2018). "Evidence Released in Botham Jean Slaying Prompts Allegations of 'Smear Campaign'". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- "Dallas Officer Fired for Killing Innocent Man in His Own Apartment". BBC News. September 24, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- "Who is Botham Jean? Dallas man shot by police officer was more than his death". WFAA.
- Emily, Jennifer; Smith, LaVendrick; Branham, Dana (2019-10-01). "Amber Guyger convicted of murder for killing Botham Jean; sentencing phase to continue Wednesday". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2019-10-02. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- "Jurors in Amber Guyger's murder trial watch officers' desperate efforts to revive Botham Jean". Dallas News. September 24, 2019.
- "Dallas police accused of smearing man killed by cop in his own apartment". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
- "Victim's family disputes official account of the moments before Amber Guyger shot Botham Jean". Dallas News. 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
- "Dallas officer faces manslaughter charge in fatal shooting of neighbor". CBS News.
- "Sources: Fired cop Amber Guyger indicted on a murder charge in Botham Jean killing". WFAA. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "Sources: Dallas County DA spoke about Amber Guyger case on eve of murder trial — much to judge's dismay". Dallas News. 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
- Allyn, Bobby (2019-10-01). "Ex-Dallas Officer Who Killed Man In His Own Apartment Is Found Guilty Of Murder". NPR. Archived from the original on 2019-10-01. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
Guyger said she mistakenly thought she had parked on her own level in her apartment building’s parking garage. “I kept thinking I was so lucky” for finding a spot next to the entry door, she said, making it easier to carry her gear into her apartment.Missing or empty
- "Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years for murdering neighbor in his apartment". NBC News.
- Simon, Darran (3 October 2019). "Botham Jean's brother hugs the former police officer who killed him". CNN. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- Knowles, Hannah (4 October 2019). "Amber Guyger was hugged by her victim's brother and a judge, igniting a debate about forgiveness and race". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- Pengelly, Martin (4 October 2019). "Botham Jean's father: I forgive Amber Guyger but I wanted stiffer sentence". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- Chappell, Bill; Gonzales, Richard (3 October 2019). "Brandt Jean's Act Of Grace Toward His Brother's Killer Sparks A Debate Over Forgiving". National Public Radio. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- Clarraidge, Emerson (October 22, 2019). "Former Dallas officer Amber Guyger's defense files notice to appeal murder conviction". Fort Worth Star Telegram. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
- Jacabo, Julia (October 22, 2019). "Attorney for convicted wrong-apartment shooter Amber Guyger files notice of appeal". NBC News. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
- "Neighbor who filmed wrong apartment shooting aftermath says she's had death threats". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
Bunny said her employer let her go, explaining that they "didn't want their company associated with a high-profile case." When she threatened to go to the media, they then "took it a step further" and blacklisted her credentials, which she said they were able to do because she earned the credentials while working for them. Bunny did not reveal the name of the company because she is in the process of appealing the blacklisting of her credentials, she said. ABC News could not independently confirm her claims that she was fired, or, if so, why.
- "Joshua Brown, Prosecution Witness In Amber Guyger Murder Trial, Fatally Shot At Dallas Apartment Complex". 2019-10-05. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
- Wagtendonk, Anya van (October 6, 2019). "Joshua Brown, a key witness in the murder trial against Amber Guyger, was fatally shot". Vox.
- Dwilson, Stephanie Dube (October 6, 2019). "Joshua Brown Shot About 5 Miles from South Side Flats, Where Botham Jean Lived".
- "Witness in Guyger Trial Shot, Killed Friday Night".
- Allyn, Bobby (8 October 2019). "Dallas Police: Key Witness In Guyger Trial Was Killed In Drug Deal That Turned Deadly". NPR. Washington DC. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- Shammas, Brittany. "Police name suspects, deny wrongdoing in death of Amber Guyger witness Joshua Brown".