Published: Thu, October 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Cop who shot neighbour in his own apartment guilty of murder

Cop who shot neighbour in his own apartment guilty of murder

The testimony came during the first full day of the punishment phase of the trial of Amber Guyger, the 31-year-old white police officer who was convicted of murder Tuesday in the killing of Botham Jean. Guyger's apartment was in the same building, the South Side Flats apartment complex.

Guyger claimed she feared for her life, as she believed the 26-year-old accountant to be a burglar and that she was in her own apartment, since the floor plan was identical to her own apartment located just one floor directly below Jean's.

The 31-year-old Guyger, who was sacked from the Dallas Police Department days after the shooting, faces a prison sentence of five to 99 years.

Friends and family of the slain man, Botham Jean, led off the sentencing phase Tuesday by explaining how his death affected them. "It shouldn't take all that for unarmed black and brown people to get justice", said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Jean family. Jean, who was 26 when he died, would have turned 28 last Sunday.

In a message sent to Guyger's phone, the messenger suggests she would like a German shepherd because the dog is racist. Thinking the apartment was her own, she drew her service weapon and entered. And as for Amber Guyger, she looked bereft, shocked. And Guyger tried it as well, claiming she was afraid Jean was going to kill her - even though by her logic he would have been more justified in shooting, because she had intruded into his apartment.

Officer Cathy Odhiambo, who is black, described Guyger as a longtime friend, saying they met when they were servers at a TGI Fridays restaurant, and that they both eventually attended the police academy and became Dallas police officers.

Allison Jean took the stand and tearfully remembered her son's life. She lived on the third floor and Jean, who immigrated to Texas from St. Lucia, lived above her. She was later fired by the Dallas Police Department and charges were increased to murder.

On Tuesday, new outrage over the case surfaced when a video of a deputy fixing and stroking Amber Guyger's hair after the verdict angered many online.

Guyger was initially arrested on a manslaughter charge, which after review from the district attorney's office, was upgraded to a murder charge.

Now, activist groups such as Mothers Against Police Brutality and Next Generation Action Network are calling for Rivera to be fired from the Dallas Police Department, CNN affiliate KTVT said. Thus, Prosecutors argued that the Castle Doctrine should only have applied to Jean, not Guyger, because he was the one in his own home.

"I was scared whoever was inside of my apartment was going to kill me, and I'm sorry", Guyger said as she cried, her voice shaking. Though he lived directly above her apartment, Jean and Guyger didn't know each other.

"I can't imagine living life without my "other" person", she said, breaking down.

Botham Shem Jean was from a prominent Saint Lucian family of parliamentarians and government ministers.

Jean's mother testified that she has endured "the most bad time" since his death.

"When does this end lol", read a text to Guyger, to which she responded, "When MLK is dead... oh wait..." She did not immediately report the full details of the incident, he said.

Now, with that aside, there are some things about this whole case that don't really make sense concerning Guyger.

A sob, which sounded like it came from Guyger's bench, cut the judge off and Ms Kemp paused to address the courtroom: "No outbursts".

When the verdict was announced there was cheering in the courtroom, as Botham's mother Allison Jean lifted up her hands in joy.

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