DALLAS, Tx. – Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger has been convicted of murder after a jury was tasked with deciding whether the 31-year-old officer acted reasonably when she mistakenly shot and killed a man in his apartment, believing the unit to be hers.
She now faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
NBC News published a report on Tuesday after the verdict was passed down. Deliberations for the trial began on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, Guyger heard the words that she had feared tremendously as the jury announced that they had found her guilty of murder.
“I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I’m so sorry,” Guyger said during her testimony. “This is not about hate — it’s about being scared.”
Instead of going with a lesser charge of manslaughter, the prosecution pressed forward with the murder charges, working to prove that the off-duty officer had acted recklessly when she used deadly force to neutralize the perceived threat.
BREAKING: Former Dallas cop Amber Guyger has been found guilty of murder for the 2018 shooting of an unarmed Black man, her neighbor Botham Jean. The 31-year-old said she killed Jean after mistakenly entering his apartment. Guyger could face life in prison. pic.twitter.com/MKJx7yXAnp
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 1, 2019
Prosecutors say that just after 10 p.m. on September 6, 2018, Guyger accidentally entered the wrong unit in her apartment complex after she returned home from her 13.5 hour shift. She was off-duty, but was still in uniform.
Upon entering the apartment and seeing a “large silhouette”, which she mistook for a burglar who had broken in, Guyger reportedly drew her service weapon and shot 26-year-old Botham Jean in the darkness.
Botham Jean, a St. Lucia native who went by Bo and had reportedly moved to Texas after being hired by a prestigious accounting firm, was killed during the encounter.
Guyger had parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to an affidavit filed for the officer’s arrest warrant, possibly suggesting she was confused or disoriented at the time of the shooting.
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She said she entered the apartment—which she believed to be her own—after realizing the door was unlocked and slightly ajar and then saw a figure in the darkness. Guyger said she gave verbal commands, because she believed her apartment was being burglarized, and then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.
It wasn’t until she had turned on the lights that she realized she was in the wrong unit and had shot the man who actually lived there.
During her frantic 911 call, she repeated “I thought it was my apartment” nearly 20 times.
Botham Jean was eating ice cream in his living room when an off-duty cop came in and shot him, prosecutors say.
The officer, Amber Guyger, has now been found guilty of murder.
Here's what led to her conviction:pic.twitter.com/eDRraT9QBw
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 1, 2019
Other residents within the apartment complex had said that the layout could be confusing and that a large portion of tenants had said that they’d accidentally parked on the wrong floor of the garage during their time there. Guyger had only been living in the unit for a few months.
But the prosecution said that the former officer missed too many clues about the apartment, noting that Jean had a large red doormat outside of his unit that she should have noticed.
GUILTY VERDICT: A jury has convicted Amber Guyger of murder in the death of Botham Jean.NOW: We're monitoring the latest in the Amber Guyger murder trial. She testified that she feared for her life when she shot and killed Botham Jean in his own apartment. A jury has been deliberating the case since yesterday. https://bit.ly/2ntpqMf
Posted by News 4 San Antonio on Tuesday, October 1, 2019
The trial lasted a week, in which the jury heard the 911 call Guyger made after the fatal shooting, read texts between Guyger and a superior officer that she had reportedly been romantically involved with, and watched body cam footage from the officers that responded to the scene that night.
Guyger now faces up to 99 years behind bars.
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