Botham Jean’s mother testifies at sentencing after ex-cop Amber Guyger is found guilty of murder

Amber Guyger trial verdict: Ex-police officer found guilty of murder - CNN

()Allison Jean took the stand at Amber Guyger‘s sentencing hearing Tuesday, hours after raising her hands in jubilation over the of a former in the of her son, Botham.

“My life has not been the same,” Allison Jean told the jury that will sentence Guyger. “It’s just been like a roller coaster.
Guyger, who is white, testified that after working long hours on September 6, 2018, she returned to her Dallas apartment complex and approached what she thought was her apartment. She noticed the door was partially open, saw a man inside who she believed to be an intruder, and fired her service weapon, killing him.
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    In fact, she was at the apartment directly above hers — which belonged to the 26-year-old , who was . Prosecutors said had been on the couch in his shorts, watching TV and eating vanilla ice cream when Guyger walked in.
    Jurors deliberated for less than 24 hours before reaching the verdict. Guyger was booked into the North Tower Detention Center in Tuesday afternoon, according to the county website.
    Though the topic of race did not figure prominently in the itself, outside the courtroom, Jean’s case had became a focal point in the national conversation on and the threat of violence people of color face in daily .
    After the verdict, S. Lee Merritt, an for Jean’s , called the murder conviction a “huge victory” not only for the victim’s but also “for black people in .” Few police officers ever face trial for shooting deaths, and even fewer are convicted.
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    “It’s a signal that the tide is going to change ,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. “Police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions and we believe that begin to change policing over the .”
    Another family attorney, Benjamin Crump, cited the names of numerous unarmed Americans who have died at the hands of police.
    “For so many unarmed black and brown beings all across America, this verdict is for them,” he said.

    Allison Jean wore her son’s favorite color on the stand

    Wearing — her son’s favorite color — Allison Jean fought back tears as she described the day she learned her son had been fatally shot.
    “I was in with my at 12:13 a.m. on September 7th when she came to inform me that she had gotten a call and that somebody told her that Botham was shot, that he died,” she said.
    She added, “I cannot . I cannot eat. It’s just been the most terrible for me. ”
    Allison Jean talked about how Botham — the middle — was “the glue” that brought her three together. She smiled as she was shown of her son.
    “I have to tried to keep that family together because everybody’s in ,” she said, adding that she goes to weekly sessions.
    She was largely composed and spoke proudly of her son and how, at 11, he ranked 23 out of about 4,000 on the of St. Lucia who took a selective entrance exam.
    Amber Guyger trial verdict: Ex-police officer found guilty of murder - CNN
    “We have a simple life, one of and that’s how we raised our children,” she said, adding that she has been married 30 years.
    She would have preferred that Botham remained at for his studies, but he wanted to attend Harding University, a private Christian in where became of the student council, sang in a choir and led service missions with students to the island. Allison Jean described him as loving and giving and passionate about helping others.
    She said her youngest son Brandt, 18, spent part of the the of 2017 in Dallas with Botham, who worked as an accountant and would have turned 28 on Sunday. When Brandt was leaving, Botham called his mother .
    “He didn’t want Brandt to leave,” she said. “He felt that Brandt spent three weeks with him and the first week, he said he had a lot of to do and he really regretted that he didn’t spend enough time with Brandt.”
    Allison Jean said she is concerned for her youngest son, who has gone from punching walls in after his brother’s death to not saying much about his feelings.
    In , Allisa Findley, Botham’s sister, watched a of her brother at church. She put her down. His voice makes her miss him, she said.
    “I want my brother back,” she said.
    Findley said she calls home more to check on her mother, father and younger brother. None of them are the same. She recalled how her brother would call her in the middle of the night when he was in school so she could order a and send it to his room. She remembered him buying her a as a housewarming present — on his birthday.

    Guyger up to life in

    Hours , in the same courtroom, Tammy Kemp asked Guyger and her to stand as she read the verdict sheet.
    “We the jury unanimously find the defendant, Amber Guyger, guilty of murder as charged in the ,” Kemp read, as a shriek and hand clap could be heard.
    Jean’s mother briefly threw both arms in the air. Another woman who started to shout in praise was chastised by a court officer. Members of Jean’s family sobbed. were hugs among family members and prosecutors after the jury left the courtroom.
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    With the murder conviction, Guyger, 31, faces up to life in prison. The former officer, her head down, wept at the defense table. Her mother broke down in the courtroom.
    When the courtroom doors opened, applause and cheers erupted in the corridors. Some cried on hallway benches and shouts of “Guilty! Guilty!” and “Black lives matter!” could be heard.

    ‘I wish he was the one with the gun’

    In but off duty, Guyger testified last week that she wanted to “find the threat” after hearing movement in her apartment. She said she saw the silhouette of a man and demanded to see his hands. He approached in a “fast-paced walk,” she added, and she fired two shots at what she believed to be an intruder.
    Jason Hermus told jurors that the trajectory of the bullet suggests Jean was getting up from a when Guyger fired, or he was on his knees, trying to hide from her. Experts have been unable to determine Jean’s exact position when he was shot.
    One bullet struck and killed Jean. A examiner testified the bullet entered just above Jean’s upper left nipple and traveled downward, damaging his heart and several other organs before landing in his psoas muscle.
    “I for , and I myself every single day,” Guyger told the jury, her voice shaking. “I wish he was the one with the gun who had killed me. I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life.”
    Guyger was distracted that night, prosecutors argued, with her married police , with whom she had had sexual relations. They said she missed numerous signs in the hallway leading up to Jean’s apartment indicating she was on the wrong floor.
    Hermus also criticized Guyger for entering the apartment rather than backing away and seeking cover or calling for assistance over her police . He argued she did not render enough first to Jean.
    “When aimed and pulled the trigger at Mr. Jean, shooting him in center exactly where are trained, intended to kill Mr. Jean,” Hermus said.
    “I did,” Guyger said.
    On the phone with a operator that night, Guyger said 19 times she thought she had been in her apartment. Guyger said she performed a “little” CPR and a sternum rub on Jean.
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    Hermus pointed out she never used first aid supplies from her backpack. Guyger testified her was racing while on the phone with a 911 operator. She said it didn’t cross her that she had first aid supplies.
    Ranger , the , said in court last week — while the jury was not in the room — that he believed Guyger’s actions were reasonable and that she did not commit murder, nor manslaughter or criminally negligent manslaughter. The judge would not allow him to offer his before the jury.
    Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter in September 2018, but a grand jury later indicted her on a murder charge.The Dallas Police Department fired Guyger.
    The trial was laced with dramatic, emotional moments, as attorneys played graphic body cam footage of police trying to resuscitate Jean and read sexual between Guyger and her police partner.

    The castle doctrine and closing arguments

    After six days of witness testimony, the prosecution and defense teams rested Monday morning, then presented two hours of closing arguments. Prosecutors leaned heavily on their emotional appeal, while the defense urged the jury to use discipline and focus on the law.
    In a significant move, the judge allowed Guyger’s attorneys to argue the so-called castle doctrine — or stand your ground laws — as part of their defense, since Guyger believed she was in her own apartment. Guyger’s actions were reasonable, defense attorneys said, and any ordinary person could have made the same mistake in a similar situation.
    Toby Shook urged jurors to at the case “calmly” and not decide on , sympathy, or public pressure. “But you have to use the discipline not to do that,” he said.
    “That’s hard, especially in a case like this,” he added. “You’ll never see a case like this, that’s so tragic. So tragic. It’s hard to do as jurors. Who would not have sympathy for Botham Jean? Wonderful human being — died in these horrible, tragic circumstances.”
    Prosecutors argued self-defense did not apply because Guyger was not in her home. She acted disproportionately, prosecutors said, and had less lethal options available, like using her stun gun or mace.
    Amber Guyger trial verdict: Ex-police officer found guilty of murder - CNN
    “Self-defense is an option of last resort. She killed him unreasonably and unjustifiably,” said Hermus.
    The self defense should apply to Jean, not Guyger, they said. “It’s not her apartment. There was not force. It’s not occupied. She doesn’t need castle doctrine,” said District Attorney Jason Fine. “No. This law is not in place for her, it’s in place for Bo.”
      Hermus, in closing arguments, walked up to Guyger in her seat, pointed and looked her in the eye, and urged the jury to tell her: “You will be held responsible for what you did and whether or not you want to accept responsibility, it will be forced upon you.
      “And by God in , Texas,” he continued, “there will be a consequence for you in and shooting an unarmed, defenseless man.”


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