Sunday 20 October 2019

Police officer guilty of murder of unarmed neighbour after flat 'mix-up'

Defendant Amber Guyger. Photo: The Dallas Morning News
Defendant Amber Guyger. Photo: The Dallas Morning News

Kim Ripoll

A white former police officer who said she fatally shot her unarmed black neighbour after mistaking his apartment for her own has been found guilty of murder.

A jury reached the verdict in Amber Guyger's high-profile trial for the killing of Botham Jean in Dallas, after six days of witness evidence but just a handful of hours of deliberation.

Cheers erupted in the courthouse as the verdict was announced, and someone shouted: "Thank you, Jesus!"

In Texas, the sentence for murder is from five to 99 years in prison.

The basic facts of the unusual shooting were not in dispute throughout the trial.

In September 2018, Guyger walked up to Mr Jean's apartment - which was on the fourth floor, directly above hers on the third - and found the door unlocked.

She was off duty but still dressed in her police uniform after a long shift, when she shot Mr Jean with her service weapon. The 26-year-old accountant had been eating a bowl of ice cream before she entered his home.

Guyger was arrested three days after the killing. She was later fired and charged with murder, but only spoke publicly about the shooting after taking the witness stand on Friday.

The 31-year-old tearfully apologised and told jurors she feared for her life after finding the door to what she thought was her apartment unlocked.

Irish Independent

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