Jury in Amber Guyger Murder Trial Finds Her Guilty of Murder
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
October 1, 2019
Amber Guyger, 31, shot and killed Botham Jean on the night of Sept. 6, 2018 in his southside Dallas apartment. In emotional testimony last week, Guyger told the jury about how she mistakenly entered Jean's apartment and believed the 26-year-old was an intruder in her home.
The Dallas county jury began deliberations for Guyger's case around 1 p.m. Monday and came back with the verdict after 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Among other instructions, the judge said the jury must determine whether Guyger shooting Jean was reasonable under the circumstances, or whether she was guilty of murder or manslaughter.
The judge for trial, Judge Tammy Kemp, ruled on Monday the jury will be allowed to consider the Castle Doctrine, which Texas passed in 2007. The law allows a person to use deadly force "in the protection of a home, vehicle, or other property if someone attempts to forcibly enter or remove an individual from the premises."
Prosecutors argued on Monday that allowing the jury to consider Castle Doctrine didn't make sense since it was Guyger entering Jean's home.
"It protects homeowners against intruders, and now all of a sudden, the intruder is trying to use it against the homeowner. This law is not in place for her," prosecutor Jason Fine argued in court. "It's in place for Bo."
The judge also said the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter charges for Guyger while making their decision. Guyger's state of mind is expected to be a major point of debate for the jury as they try and determine whether the former police officer committed murder, whether it was a lesser offense, such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or even no crime at all.
Should the jury apply the Castle Doctrine to Guyger's case, experts say it would be the first time the law would be used for someone who killed another person in their home, NBC News reported. At least 25 states have some form of the Castle Doctrine enshrined in the law, but those laws generally come with very specific guidelines of when a person can use force, when they feel like their home, property or life has been threatened.
Guyger was off-duty at the time of the shooting but still in her uniform when she got into Jean's apartment and fired her service weapon twice. The apartment's doors are opened using key fobs, which Guyger said she tried to use, but, the door pushed open. Following the shooting, Guyger was arrested for manslaughter, and later fired by the Dallas Police Department. Her defense attorneys say the 31-year-old ex-police officer was distracted at the time of the shooting and made a "mistake of fact" in entering Jean's home.