After mistakenly entering her neighbor’s apartment and fatally shooting him, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted Tuesday of murder. Although Guyger attempted to claim that she shot her neighbor in self-defense, prosecutors argued that her unarmed neighbor was eating ice cream on his couch and posed no threat to her.
On the night of September 6, 2018, Guyger shared a series of sexually explicit texts and Snapchat messages with her married police partner, Martin Rivera. Distracted from a long work shift while finishing a phone conversation with Rivera, Guyger parked her pickup truck on the wrong floor of her apartment complex.
Despite the fact that her apartment was on the third floor, Guyger approached Botham Jean’s apartment, which was directly above hers, and mistook him for a burglar. As Guyger missed several signs denoting that she was on the fourth floor, Jean sat on his couch eating a bowl of ice cream before Guyger entered his apartment and shot him.
Three days after the shooting, Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter for her role in Jean’s needless death. On September 24, 2018, Guyger was fired from the department after an internal investigation found the officer had engaged in “adverse conduct” during her arrest.
Later charged with murdering Jean, Guyger attempted to claim that she killed him in self-defense. But during the trial, the prosecution argued that Jean never posed a threat, Guyger had acted unreasonably by failing to notice she entered the wrong apartment, and she chose to escalate the situation instead of calling for backup units or remembering her training.
On Tuesday, a Dallas County jury found Guyger guilty of murder.
“Nothing will bring Botham back, but today his family has found some measure of justice,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for Jean’s family, said in a statement. “What happened on September 6, 2018, is clear to everyone: This officer saw a black man and shot, without reason and without justification. The jury’s thoughtful verdict sets a powerful precedent for future cases, telling law enforcement officers that they cannot hide behind the badge but instead will face justice for their wrongful actions.”
“Bo’s death was a heartbreak for all of us at PwC. I’m asking you to remember the tremendous person we lost at the center of this, our beloved friend and colleague Bo. He is dearly missed, but we can make sure his impact lives on by being kind and generous to everyone around us.” Tim Ryan, U.S. chair and senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a statement. Jean worked as an accountant for PwC.
In Texas, murder carries a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison. The jury is scheduled to hear from Jean’s family members before Guyger’s sentence will be determined.