Amber Guyger’s appeal: Texas’ highest court upholds conviction

Two judges – Judge Kevin Yeary and Judge Michelle Slaughter – wrote dissenting opinions, but the rest of the court voted not to hear his appeal.

DALLAS— Editor’s Note: The video posted above is a look back at Guyger’s sentencing.

The murder conviction and 10-year prison sentence of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who fatally shot Botham Jean in her apartment in 2018, was upheld on Wednesday by Texas’ highest criminal court.

The Court of Criminal Appeals declined to hear Guyger’s motion to review a lower court’s decision to uphold his 2019 conviction and sentence. Two judges – Judge Kevin Yeary and Judge Michelle Slaughter – wrote dissenting opinions, but the rest of the court voted not to hear his appeal.

The nine-member tribunal has final appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases, so the ruling means Guyger has likely exhausted all avenues of appeal to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Guyger will continue to serve his 10-year sentence in a prison in Gatesville, Texas. She is on parole in 2024.

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represented Jean’s family during the trial, told WFAA’s Rebecca Lopez that they were relieved the door was closed on this case and that Guyger could serve out the rest of his his sentence.

What happened the night Botham Jean was killed?

During the trial, Guyger said she had just finished a 1 p.m. shift when she said she mistook Botham Jean’s apartment for hers.

She told investigators she parked on the fourth floor instead of the third at the South Side Flats apartments, according to arrest records. But prosecutors said the fourth floor of the garage was open air, while the third floor, where Guyger normally parked, was not.

Prosecutor Jason Hermus said Guyger, who was still in uniform, also missed several visual clues as he walked down two long hallways.

She also didn’t notice Jean’s red doormat, the only one with such a visible doormat on the third or fourth floor, and the smell of marijuana in her house – all indicators that she had taken the wrong door. .

During the trial, it was revealed that Jean’s apartment was more cluttered than Guyger’s, which was sparsely furnished. Guyger’s apartment had a semicircular hall table with a vase of flowers in the living room of his apartment.

She had no rug or coffee table. Jean had a large round ottoman in front of his sofa. Guyger had no artwork behind his couch, unlike Jean.

RELATED: ‘A Ripple of Bo’: Botham Jean’s Third Death Anniversary Comes With New Perspective on a Legacy Touching Many

The door was unlocked and Jean was on the couch eating vanilla ice cream and watching TV when Guyger entered. She fired twice, hitting Jean once in the lower chest. The bullet passed through his body, Hermus said.

Prosecutors said Guyger was more concerned with texting her partner than trying to help Jean. After the shooting, she sent her partner two texts saying she needed him.

“She should have given this man 100% of her attention,” Hermus said of Jean, who lay on the floor of his living room while Guyger waited outside for first responders.

Guyger’s keys were in Jean’s door when the first officers arrived. The apartment doors have an electronic lock that turns like a normal key.

Jean hadn’t locked his door when he got home after running an errand. Crime scene photos show that the strike plate, where the door closes, was slightly bent.

The door was not fully closed and locked the night of the shooting. As a general rule, the doors to apartments on the south side should close completely automatically, due to the way they are weighted.

Texas Ranger David Armstrong, the lead investigator on the case, testified that he tested Jean’s door lock multiple times. It didn’t consistently close every time, he said.

Guyger testified that she was so disoriented that she had to walk outside the unit to get the apartment number from the 911 dispatcher.

Jurors were to determine whether Guyger reasonably believed she was in her own apartment at the time of the shooting and whether a reasonable person in her position would have shot Jean in self-defense, as she claims.

The jury found her guilty of murder.

About Jessica J. Bass

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