Former Dallas police officer found guilty of murder in fatal shooting of neighbor in his home

Amber Guyger testified that she was exhausted from an extended shift when she walked into the apartment of Botham Jean thinking it was her own.

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In this March 18, 2019 file photo, former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger walks the hallway on her third court appearance at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas.

AP Photos

A Dallas police officer who fatally shot a black neighbor she mistook for an intruder was convicted of murder Tuesday by a jury deliberating for a second day.

Amber Guyger, who is white, had testified that she was exhausted from an extended shift when she walked into the apartment of Botham Jean thinking it was her own. Guyger, 31, said she believed Jean, 26, was a burglar and shot him in self-defense.

But prosecutor Jason Hermus said Guyger should have known she was in the wrong apartment but was distracted by a phone call with a lover. Jean, an accountant from St. Lucia, never posed a threat to Guyger and was eating a bowl of ice cream in his living room when she walked in on Sept. 6, 2018, Hermus said. 

“For Amber Guyger, Mr. Jean was dead before that door ever opened,” Hermus said during closing arguments.

Guyger said she parked on the wrong level by mistake and walked down a corridor to the apartment directly above hers, thinking it was her own. She became worried when she noticed the door was unlocked, she said.

Hermus said that was when Guyger should have called for backup. Instead, Guyger testified that she feared for her safety when she spotted Jean in the dark apartment, thinking he was a burglar. She said she shot him with her service gun when he failed to obey her command to put his hands up.

Defense lawyer Toby Shook told the jury that Guyger had to make a split-second decision and that Jean’s death was the result of “a series of horrible mistakes.’’

Guyger called 911 after the shooting. She can be heard apologizing to Jean – and saying “I’m gonna lose my job” and “I am going to need a supervisor” in the six-minute recording. 

Guyger was arrested days after the shooting and subsequently fired by the Dallas Police Department. The jury was asked to decide whether Guyger was guilty of murder, a lesser crime such as manslaughter, or whether she should be acquitted. Deliberations began Monday.

During her testimony last week, the first time she spoke publicly about that night, Guyger wept as she expressed remorse for the killing.

“I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life and I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day,” Guyger said as she looked across the courtroom at Jean’s family. “I wish he was the one with the gun and he killed me.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Read more at USA Today.

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