As the Dallas County District Court Judge Tammy Kemp read the decision, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger’s self-defense sat back down at the defense table, wiped tears from her eyes. The one-year case has finally come to a close.
“I’ve asked God for forgiveness. I hate myself every single day,” Guyger said trembling.
Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder for shooting Botham Jean, who was eating ice cream in his own home after mistaking his apartment for her own on Sept. 6, 2018.
Accordingly, the 31-year-old Guyger, who was fired from the Dallas Police Department days after the shooting, faces a prison sentence of five to 99 years. The sentencing phase of the trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday, Oct. 1, and the jury is expected to hear from Jean’s family members before rendering punishment.
“We believe that Botham’s life mattered and we want a sentence that reflects that,” Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jean family, said at a post-verdict news conference.
Guyer claimed she feared for her life when she killed Jean. She told the jury that on the night of the shooting she was tired from a 13-1/2-hour shift on the Dallas Police Department’s crime response team and mistakenly parked on the wrong floor. She said the parking floors at her apartment building were not clearly marked.
Jean was sitting on his couch when Guyger opened his front door and shot him without giving him a chance to surrender, prosecutors said.
She said she commanded, “Let me see your hands,” but the man inside began coming toward her and yelling, “Hey! Hey! Hey!”
The case made national headlines as Guyger is white and Jean was black, and the Jean family has questioned whether Guyger would have shot him if he were a different race.
“I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I’m so sorry,” Guyger said on the stand. “This is not about hate—it’s about being scared.”
The sentencing was set to resume on Wednesday morning, Oct. 2.