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DALLAS (AP) — A jury is set to resume deliberations in the murder trial of a former Dallas police officer who fatally shot her neighbor in his apartment.
Amber Guyger is charged in the September 2018 killing of Botham Jean*.
The jury can convict Guyger of murder, manslaughter or can choose to acquit. Jurors deliberated for a couple of hours Monday afternoon. They are set to resume Tuesday morning.
Guyger testified that she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own after a long shift and that she believed he was an intruder. The 31-year-old Guyger has said she feared for her life.
Prosecutors say it’s absurd to suggest Guyger didn’t know she was in the wrong apartment.
Guyger was charged with murder then fired from the force.
*Botham Jean was a native of St. Lucia who graduated from Harding University in Searcy.
DALLAS (AP) — Defense attorneys have rested their case in the murder trial of a Dallas police officer charged with killing her neighbor in his apartment.
Prosecutors and lawyers for Amber Guyger are expected to present closing arguments Monday. Guyger is accused of killing of Botham Jean last September.
Guyger testified last week that she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own after a long shift and believed he was a burglar. The 31-year-old said she feared for her life before entering the apartment where she shot Jean. Prosecutors say Jean was unarmed and eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream in his living room when Guyger shot him.
The two sides argued Monday morning over the language of the instructions the judge with provide to jurors as they begin to deliberate.
DALLAS (AP) — The jury deciding the fate of a former Dallas police officer who shot and killed her unarmed black neighbor heard around five minutes of testimony on day six of the trial before being sent home.
Amber Guyger, 31, who is white, is on trial for murder after she fatally shot 26-year-old Botham Jean, an accountant who was alone in his apartment when she came through his front door.
On Saturday, before the jury was seated, former Dallas police chief Craig Miller was called by the defense as an expert witness to testify about temporary condition called “inattentional blindness,” which he said is not universally accepted in the scientific community.
He said he thought Guyger was justified in shooting Jean, based on “the totality of the evidence.” The judge ordered that he wouldn’t be allowed to say that in front of a jury, but will allow him to testify to a narrow range of issues related to officer distraction.
On Friday, Guyger testified that she mistook Jean’s fourth-floor apartment for her own, which is one floor below. She said she parked on the wrong level of the apartment complex, and walked into the unlocked door thinking it was her own. She says she killed Jean in self-defense, mistakenly thinking he was a burglar in her apartment who would harm her.
“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 told the jury.
The jury will consider whether Guyger is guilty of murder, a lesser crime such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or if she is not guilty.
On Saturday, they heard again from David Armstrong of the Texas Department of Public Safety, for about five minutes. He said that she may not have had a normal perception in the tense situation.
As with Miller, Armstrong told lawyers that he believed Guyger’s actions were reasonable, but the jury was not present.
Jurors will report back to the court on Monday at 9:30 a.m.
DALLAS (AP) — The judge in the murder trial of a white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor in his apartment blocked the lead investigator from telling jurors Wednesday that he didn’t think the shooting was a crime.
David Armstrong of the Texas Department of Public Safety testified for a second day in Amber Guyger’s murder trial , but jurors weren’t present when he shared his opinion that her actions were reasonable. Guyger has said she mistook Botham Jean’s apartment for her own.
“I believe that she did perceive him as a deadly threat,” Armstrong said while being questioned by the defense on the trial’s third day.
District Judge Tammy Kemp ruled that the jury couldn’t hear the Texas Ranger’s opinion of the reasonableness of Guyger’s actions. Last September, Armstrong signed an affidavit supporting Guyger’s arrest for manslaughter.
Guyger, 31, was off duty but in uniform when she shot Jean, 26, a native of the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia who worked as an accountant in Dallas. A grand jury later charged her with murder.
Prosecutors have said Guyger should have noticed she was on the wrong floor while Guyger’s attorneys have argued that she fired in self-defense based on the mistaken belief that Jean was a burglar.
She has said she parked on the fourth floor of the complex’s garage rather than the third floor, where she lived. She then went to Jean’s apartment — located directly above hers.
His door wasn’t locked, defense attorneys say. Prosecutors say that when Guyger entered the apartment, the unarmed Jean was in his living room eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
In a frantic 911 call played in court Tuesday , Guyger, who was later fired from the force, says “I thought it was my apartment” nearly 20 times.
In the jury’s presence, Armstrong testified Wednesday that going to the wrong apartment was common at the complex, especially on Guyger’s and Jean’s floors. Armstrong, who also testified Tuesday , says that even he had trouble determining which floor he was on while investigating the shooting.
“There were no clear obvious signs showing what level you were on,” he testified.
Testimony was initially delayed Wednesday after Kemp told attorneys a female juror had a “professional relationship” with Armstrong. The juror was questioned in private about the matter, and testimony soon continued.
DALLAS (AP) — A white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor in his apartment last year had no drugs or alcohol in her system at the time, a police detective testified Tuesday.
Detective Eddie Ibarra’s testimony during the second day of Amber Guyger’s murder trial marked the first time her toxicology results have been publicly revealed.
Guyger was off duty but in uniform when she shot Botham Jean last September. Guyger has said she mistook his apartment for her own.
Prosecutors have said Guyger should have noticed she was on the wrong floor, and contend she was distracted by a phone and text conversation with a colleague with whom she had a sexual relationship. Guyger’s attorneys have argued that she fired in self-defense based on the mistaken belief that she was in her home and that Jean was a burglar.
Jurors heard her frantic call to 911 following the shooting. In the call, Guyger says “I thought it was my apartment” nearly 20 times. She also says: “I’m gonna lose my job” and “I am going to need a supervisor.” The recording of the 911 call was previously obtained by a Dallas TV station.
Prosecutors said Monday that 26-year-old Jean, an accountant who grew up in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, was sitting in his living room, eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream, when Guyger, 31, walked into his home and shot him.
Jurors on Tuesday watched body camera footage from Officer Michael Lee, who was among the responders to the shooting. Guyger, who was later fired from the force, looks panicked when she appears briefly in Lee’s footage. In it, Guyger says, “I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment,” as Lee moves past her and puts on a pair of gloves.
Lee testified that despite officers’ efforts, Jean didn’t open his eyes or otherwise communicate with first responders.
Senior Cpl. Dale Richardson testified that he was told during the investigation that Guyger’s set of keys were found dangling from Jean’s door. He said that when tested, Guyger’s key made a light on the lock blink red and it would not operate, while Jean’s key made the lock blink green and make a whirring sound that indicated it was operating.
Guyger’s defense has said she was able to enter the apartment because the door wasn’t locked.
Fox 16 Note: Botham Jean was a graduate of Harding University in Searcy.
DALLAS – The murder trial for Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer accused of fatally shooting 26-year-old Botham Jean in his South Side apartment last year, is underway.
Jean, a native of St. Lucia, was a graduate of Harding University in Searcy.
To watch the live stream: CLICK HERE.
Here’s a recap from Day 1 of the trial:
Prosecutors contend Amber Guyger, 31, was distracted by the conversation with a colleague with whom she had a sexual relationship. Guyger’s attorneys argued that she fired in self-defense based on the mistaken belief that she was in her home and that Botham Jean was a burglar.
Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, “was doing no harm to anyone, which was his way,” Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus said in an opening statement.
Jean was in his living room eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream on Sept. 6, 2018, when Guyger entered the apartment, which was one floor directly above her apartment, Hermus said.
Hermus said Guyger had worked overtime that day, mostly involving office work that was not strenuous. He said jurors will see sexually explicit messages that Guyger exchanged that evening with a co-worker that discussed meeting up after her shift ended. He said some messages had been deleted from Guyger’s phone after the shooting.
During pretrial proceedings, prosecutors and defense attorneys clashed over whether those messages should be entered into evidence.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Robert Rogers rejected the prosecution argument that there were unique signs that would have signaled to Guyger that she was on the wrong floor. In fact, he said, the identical look of the apartment complex from floor to floor often led to confusion among tenants, with dozens regularly parking on the wrong floor or attempting to enter the wrong apartment.
Rogers said the floors of the parking garage were not clearly marked so it was understandable when Guyger, tired from a long shift, pushed open a door and believed an intruder was inside.
Guyger “was on autopilot,” he said of her entrance to Jean’s apartment. “She had tunnel vision.”
Rogers also dismissed as “preposterous” the relevance to Jean’s death of Guyger’s sexual relationship with her partner.
Martin Rivera, Guyger’s colleague at the time and her former lover, acknowledged having a 16-minute telephone conversation with Guyger as she headed home from work the night of the shooting. He said the two exchanged sexually explicit messages and images earlier that day but denied making plans to rendezvous with Guyger later that night, as prosecutors suggested.
When prosecutors asked River what the conversation was about, he said he believed it was mostly about police work but his memory of the call was hazy.
After the shooting, prosecutors said, Guyger deleted the logs of her text exchanges with Rivera from her cellphone. Rivera acknowledged doing the same thing.
Earlier in the day, Allisa Findley of New York, Jean’s older sister, testified that she was the first in the family to be informed of his death via a phone call from a hospital social worker.
“I just immediately became cold,” Findley said. “It just didn’t make sense.”
Findley said she broke the tragic news to their mother and that she still sometimes calls her brother’s phone hoping that he will answer.
“I haven’t accepted it yet,” she said.
The case is being heard by a jury that appeared to have a majority of women and people of color.
The shooting attracted intense national scrutiny for the strange circumstances and because it was one in a chain of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers.
The trial’s outcome may hang on whether the jury believes that Guyger’s mistake was reasonable, according to legal experts.
Guyger was off duty but still in uniform when she shot Jean. She told investigators that after a 15-hour shift she parked on the fourth floor of the complex’s garage — rather than the third floor, where she lived — and found the apartment’s door ajar.
The jury will have to decide whether Guyger committed murder, a lesser offense such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or no crime at all.