Dallas cop gets 10 years for killing neighbor

Posted: Updated:
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool). Former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger visits with her attorneys before proceedings in the 204th District Court at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Wednesday, September 25, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool). Former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger visits with her attorneys before proceedings in the 204th District Court at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Wednesday, September 25, 2019.
Botham Jean Botham Jean
DALLAS (AP) -

The Latest on the trial of a former Dallas police officer convicted of murder in the shooting death of her neighbor inside his apartment (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

The 10-year prison sentence given to a white Dallas police officer for the killing of her black neighbor was met with boos and jeers from people in the hallway outside the courtroom.

The jury that convicted Amber Guyger of murder in the killing of Botham Jean on Tuesday sentenced her to a decade behind bars. It could have sentenced her to anywhere from two years to life in prison.

As Jean's family walked out of the courtroom after the hearing, the group in the hallway began a chant of, "No justice! No peace!" Two black women hugged each other and cried.

Sheriff's deputies cleared the hallway outside the courtroom before more officers escorted Guyger's family out and down a side staircase.

Guyger said she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, which was one floor below his, and mistook him for a burglar.

4:05 p.m.

A white Dallas police officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting her unarmed, black neighbor in his home.

The jury sentenced Amber Guyger on Wednesday. Guyger was convicted of murder Tuesday in the September 2018 killing of her upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean.

In Texas, a murder sentence can range from five years to life in prison, but the judge also instructed jurors on a so-called sudden passion defense, which carries a range of 2-20 years behind bars.

Guyger was still dressed in her police uniform after a long shift when she shot Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia. She was fired from the force and charged with murder.

Guyger testified that she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, which was one floor below, and that she thought he was a burglar in her home.

2:55 p.m.

Jurors are considering the sentence for a white Dallas police officer whom they convicted of murder for shooting her black neighbor in his apartment, which she says she mistook for her own unit one floor below.

Amber Guyger could be sentenced to five years to life in prison for killing Botham Jean, though jurors could also sentence her to as little as two years if they determine her crime was one of sudden passion.

 A prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that when deciding the sentence for the September 2018 killing, they can consider racially insensitive texts that Guyger sent to her police partner. Another prosecutor said jurors shouldn't sentence Guyger to less than 28 years, which is how old Jean would have been today.

Her attorney, Toby Shook, said the texts were sent "at a whim" and weren't indicative of Guyger's whole life. He asked jurors to consider a black woman who credited Guyger with helping her recover from drug use.

12:50 p.m.

A woman who met Amber Guyger when the Dallas police officer busted a drug house says Guyger helped her turn around her life.

LaWanda Clark told jurors Wednesday during Guyger's murder trial that she struggled with a crack cocaine addiction and that Guyger wrote her a ticket on the day of the drug bust. She says Guyger told her that the ticket could be the impetus to turn her life around.

While Clark was speaking, attorneys showed jurors a photo of Guyger attending Clark's graduation from a community drug treatment program.

Clark said Guyger treated her as a person, not as "an addict," and said she is now sober.

Guyger faces up to life in prison for the September 2018 shooting death of Botham Jean. She says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, which was one floor below.

12:35 p.m.

A high school friend who played in an all-female mariachi band with Amber Guyger says the former Dallas police officer feels "immense remorse" for fatally shooting a neighbor in his own apartment.

Maribel Chavez testified Wednesday that she met Guyger in ninth grade during orchestra practice. They later went on to play in a mariachi band, with Guyger playing violin and trumpet.

Chavez said Guyger is typically bubbly and extroverted, but that since she killed her neighbor, Botham Jean, in September 2018, "It's like you shut her light off."

She described her friend as selfless, caring and a protector of those around her.

Guyger says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, which was one floor below his. She faces up to life in prison after she was convicted of murder on Tuesday.

12:25 p.m.

Former colleagues have been testifying in support of a white Dallas police officer convicted of killing her black neighbor.

Amber Guyger faces up to life in prison for the 2018 shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Jean, a black accountant who was killed inside his apartment, which was directly above hers.

Officer Cathy Odhiambo, who is black, described Guyger as a longtime friend and the "sweetest person."

Odhiambo wasn't asked about text messages introduced as evidence during the trial that indicated a lack of sensitivity by Guyger toward black people. However, another fellow officer, Thomas MacPherson, told jurors that some of those texts sounded "out of character" for Guyger.

The testimony Wednesday came during the punishment phase of the trial. Guyger was convicted Tuesday of murder in Jean's killing.

11:35 a.m.

The mother of a Dallas police officer who was convicted of killing an upstairs neighbor is telling jurors about her daughter.

Karen Guyger is the first witness to testify in defense of Amber Guyger during the sentencing portion of Guyger's trial.

Karen Guyger said Wednesday that Amber Guyger is the youngest of three children, and defense attorneys showed several family photos to the jury.

Upon questioning from defense attorneys, Karen Guyger testified that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by an adult male when she was a young child.

Amber Guyger faces up to life in prison for the fatal shooting of Botham Jean. She says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own one floor below and mistook him for a burglar.

10:50 a.m.

The father of Botham Jean says his life has been upended since a Dallas police officer shot and killed his son in his son's own apartment last year.

Bertrum Jean tearfully told jurors on Wednesday that after Botham left their home in St. Lucia for college in Arkansas, he would call home every Sunday after church.

Now, Bertrum Jean said, "My Sundays have been destroyed."

The testimony came during the sentencing portion of the murder trial of Amber Guyger, who was convicted of murder Tuesday and faces a sentence that could range from two years to life in prison, depending on what the jury decides.

Guyger, who was fired after the shooting, says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar.

10:25 a.m.

A college classmate has told jurors about her friendship with Botham Jean, an accountant who was killed last year in his home by a Dallas police officer who lived in his building.

Alexis Stossel said Wednesday that she met Jean when they attended Harding University in Arkansas. She says she and Jean quickly became close friends, and they both moved to Dallas after graduating.

Stossel says Jean was the emcee at her wedding and was a natural leader whom people gravitated toward.

Stossel, who is white, also touched on Jean's sense of humor, saying Jean always insisted that she refer to him as "my black friend Botham" when posting photos on social media.

Stossel's testimony comes as jurors consider the sentence for Amber Guyger, who was convicted of murder Tuesday for killing Jean. Guyger, who was fired after the shooting, says she mistook his apartment for her own one floor below.

10:15 a.m.

The judge in the trial of a Dallas police officer convicted of murder for killing her black neighbor in his home says the jury will get instruction on a legal defense that could reduce the officer's sentencing range.

The jury convicted Amber Guyger of murder Tuesday in the September 2018 killing of Botham Jean. In Texas, the penalty for murder could be anywhere from five years to life in prison.

But Judge Tammy Kemp said Wednesday that jurors will receive written guidance on the law regarding a so-called "sudden passion defense."

If the jury accepts that Guyger's actions were taken in the heat of the moment, it could reduce the sentencing range to two to 20 years.

Guyger says she shot Jean after mistaking his apartment for her own, which was directly below. She was fired after the shooting.

9:35 a.m.

Court has resumed in the punishment phase of the trial of a white Dallas police officer who was convicted in the fatal shooting of her black neighbor last year.

Judge Tammy Kemp began the Wednesday's proceedings by allowing Amber Guyger to attend the hearing without shackles on her ankles. Guyger was booked into jail after Tuesday's proceedings concluded.

The punishment phase began Tuesday after jurors convicted Guyger of murder in the killing of her neighbor, Botham Jean. The slain accountant's family members and friends spoke of how his death affected them.

Guyger, who could be sentenced to anywhere from five years to life in prison, says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, which was directly below his. Her attorneys can argue that she deserves a light sentence because she acted out of confusion and fear that she had found an intruder.

Guyger was fired after the shooting.

12:25 a.m.

The same jury that convicted a white Dallas police officer in the fatal shooting of her black neighbor will soon return to court to consider her sentence -- a penalty that could be anywhere from five years to life in prison.

Amber Guyger said she mistook the man's apartment for her own. She was convicted of murder Tuesday. Her defense attorneys can argue that she deserves a light sentence because she acted out of confusion and fear that she had found an intruder.

Prosecutors have given no indication what sentence they will seek.

It was unclear how long the punishment phase of the trial would last. Testimony began shortly after the verdict, starting with friends and family of the victim, Botham Jean.
 

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