On Friday a grand jury indicted former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger on a murder charger. Guyger made international headlines in September after she shot and killed a man in his apartment. Initially, prosecutors involved in the case charged Guyger with manslaughter. However, after conducting a lengthy investigation, prosecutors amended the charges to murder.
On September 6th, Guyger told authorities she mistakenly entered the apartment of Botham Jean. Guyger said she thought she entered her apartment which was one floor above of Jean’s apartment. Believing she entered her apartment, she thought she spotted an intruder in her home.
In her original statements, she said she shot and killed Jean because she thought he was an intruder in her home. She said she was able to enter the apartment because Jean’s door was ajar.
Following his death, multiple outlets began poking holes in her shifting story about Jean’s open door. Original reports of the case suggested Guyger attempted to enter the apartment but struggled with the lock. However, days later the story changed with her telling authorities the door was ajar.
Witnesses at the scene said they heard knocking at the door of Jean’s and a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in.” Neighbors noted that Jean placed a red mat outside his front door to differentiate his apartment from others in the complex.
In the days after Jean’s death, authorities arrested Guyger and charged her with manslaughter. The manslaughter charge evoked protests in Dallas from supporters of Jean. Individuals called for the Dallas Police Department to fire Guyger.
After the mounting political pressure, the police department fired Guyger from the force by late September. Prosecutors connected to the case vowed to conduct a thorough investigation.
The Dallas Morning News reported that prosecutors obtained search warrants for Guyger’s electronics, social media records, and phone. Authorities also seized the locks from both apartments to determine pull data stored inside the locks. Additionally, police searched Jean’s home and pulled surveillance footage taken at the apartment building.
Prosecutors were tight-lipped about what evidence they uncovered in their search. However, they brought the evidence to a grand jury last week to review for the amended charge of murder.
Prosecutors presented evidence over two days to the grand jury. On Friday, the grand jury agreed to indict Guyger on the charge of murder.
Following the grand jury announcement, Jean’s father told reporters, “We really are not happy,” his father, Bertrum Jean, said, “but we take consolation, we take comfort at this time.”
Amber’s attorney, Robert Rogers, told reporters he wasn’t surprised by the indictment considering the amount of political pressure surrounding the case. He insisted that Amber believed she entered her apartment and exercised self-defense in the killing of Jean.Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson responded to critics about the length of time the investigation took. Additionally, Johnson commented whether political pressure played a factor in the amended charges.
“What I’m saying to you is we did a full, complete presentation to the grand jury,” she said.
“I was not bowing down to any political pressure to try to do it earlier, because that was not justice,” Johnson said. “Justice was to do it when we did it.”
Johnson told reporters they presented lab work and conducted more than 300 interviews with witnesses to prepare for the grand jury trial.
Johnson will not be prosecuting the case because she lost her rebid for election in November. Her opponent John Creuzot will take over the case.
Police booked Guyger into Mesquite jail at 1 pm on Friday. Shortly after she was booked, Guyger posted the $200,000 bond for her case. Interestingly, she also posted a $300,000 bond three months earlier for the manslaughter charge.
Guyger is only the second Dallas officer to be charged with murder in over 45 years. If convicted of her charge, she faces a maximum of life in prison.
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