Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who killed her African-American neighbor Botham Jean, was found guilty of murder on Tuesday. In 2018, Guyger, while off-duty, entered Jean’s home, thinking it was her own. Jean was unarmed and eating ice cream on his couch at the time.
In a controversial decision, the judge allowed jurors to consider the Castle Doctrine, which states that one is allowed to use deadly force to defend one’s home. But Guyger was in someone else’s home — Guyger’s apartment was on the third floor and Jean lived on the fourth.
Still, the jury nonetheless rejected the defense’s argument that Guyger acted in self-defense after less than a day of deliberations.
Botham Jean was a 26-year-old man from St. Lucia who moved to Dallas to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a well-known international financial consultancy.
The killing of a black man by a white police officer has made the case in part about race. Jean’s mother said that he wore Ralph Lauren shorts and drove the speed limit to avoid fatal encounters with the police. Chants of “black lives matter” were heard outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced.
The jury reflected the diversity of Dallas, with S. Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents the Jean family, called it “the most diverse jury I’ve ever seen.”
Guyger faces up to 99 years in prison.
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