Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Murder of Botham Jean

Image result for botham jean

Botham Jean (26) was shot and killed inside his own apartment by police officer Amber Guyger (30) on September 6th, 2018. Botham and Amber both lived in the same apartment building located in Dallas, Texas. On the day of the shooting, Amber worked her scheduled shift as a police officer. When she returned to the apartment building afterwards, she claimed that she unintentionally entered the wrong floor and approached what she thought was her apartment. In reality, it was Botham’s apartment, and he was inside watching a football game. 

Amber Guyger
As Amber approached the apartment, she heard noises and claimed to believe that there was an intruder inside her home. The door to the apartment was slightly ajar, so she was able to enter the apartment without unlocking the door. Amber stated that she saw a “large silhouette” in the corner of the living room. She said that she issued verbal commands before firing her gun twice,  striking Botham in the chest. Amber claimed that it was only after she turned on the lights and then checked the apartment number outside the door when she realized she was not in her own apartment after all. Amber called 911, and Botham was transferred to a hospital. Unfortunately, he later succumbed to his injuries. 

3 days later, Amber turned herself in to police and was charged with manslaughter. Shortly thereafter, she was released on $300,000 bond. Due to the fact that Amber turned herself in, the arrest affidavit and subsequent news reports about the case were very much shaped by her version of events. However, in the weeks that followed, witnesses came forward with a story different than Amber’s. Other tenants in the apartment reportedly heard Amber banging on Botham’s door shouting “let me in!”. Some reportedly heard the gunfire and Botham shouting “why did you do that?!”

Many people also doubted that Amber actually thought she was entering her own apartment. In fact, another tenant told police that Botham had a red doormat in front of his door, while Amber did not have a doormat at all. A search warrant was issued at Botham’s apartment, which stated that Botham actually confronted Amber at the door after she forced her way inside. Eventually, on November 30th, 2018, a grand jury indicted Amber on murder charges.

The DA has refused to release the autopsy or other related documents in this case, citing that it is still an ongoing investigation. For this reason, the public still has many unanswered questions about the case. What is known is that Amber has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought upon her. Her trial is currently underway.
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UPDATE (10/02/19): Amber Guyger has been found guilty of the murder of Botham Jean. Amber testified at her trial, where she stated that on the evening of September 6th, 2018, she entered what she thought was her apartment and shouted "let me see your hands!" at Botham, who was inside the unit. She said that Botham ran towards her, shouting "hey! hey! hey!", which scared her and triggered her to open fire. However, the trajectory of the bullet shows that Botham was either getting up from his couch or cowering when he was struck. Additionally, evidence showed that Amber had a history of posting racist content and making racist comments on social media. Still, Amber maintained that she shot Botham out of fear. While on the stand, she stated,"I never wanted to take an innocent person's life. I'm so sorry. This is not about hate — it's about being scared."

Amber faced up to 99 years in prison, but was ultimately only sentenced to 10 years. This has triggered a protest amongst many supporters of the Jean family. However, Botham's brother, Brandt Jean, has shown compassion for Amber. During his victim impact statement, Brandt directly spoke to her, saying, "I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you." Afterwards, Brandt approached Amber and the two hugged.

Botham Jean’s younger brother Brandt Jean hugs convicted murderer and former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement.
NYTimes.com
During a news conference post-sentencing, Botham's stated that she holds Dallas PD as a whole accountable for Botham's death. She explained, "10 years in prison is 10 years for [Amber's] reflection and for her to change her life. But there is much more to be done by the city of Dallas."

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