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By Erik Ortiz

 

Guyger was off-duty but in uniform when she shot Jean last year in a case that has become a flash point in Dallas over issues of police use of force and racial bias.

 

 

Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder on Tuesday for fatally shooting her neighbor, Botham Jean, after thinking he was an intruder when she said she mistakenly entered his apartment.

She faces a maximum of life in prison.

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.

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Deliberations began Monday afternoon after a week-long trial, which included the playing of the 911 call that Guyger made after shooting Jean and dramatic bodycam video from officers who responded to the scene.

 

Image: Botham Jean
Botham JeanHarding University

 

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 one another.

Prosecutors said Jean was watching television and eating ice cream in his living room when Guyger burst inside, likely scaring him. The trajectory of the bullet showed that he was either getting up from his couch or cowering when Guyger fired her service weapon, they added.

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.

Testifying in her own defense last week, Guyger told jurors that she was scared for her life when she entered an apartment that she thought was hers and the man inside began coming toward her and yelling, “Hey! Hey! Hey!”

 

“I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I’m so sorry,” Guyger said on the stand. “This is not about hate — it’s about being scared.”