News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger Appeals Botham Jean Murder Conviction

Woman in lavender shirt testifies in a courtroom. She is emotional.
Tom Fox
/
The Dallas Morning News via Associated Press
Fired Dallas police officer Amber Guyger becomes emotional as she testifies in her 2019 murder trial in Dallas.

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger is asking a Texas appeals court to throw out her murder conviction for the killing of Botham Jean in his apartment in 2018.

Her attorneys argue that state appeals court judges should acquit her of murder, saying the evidence was legally insufficient to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. They offered the possibility to convict Guyger of “criminally negligent homicide,” which carries a lighter sentence, instead.

Guyger says she entered Jean's apartment because she mistook it for her own, which was one floor below. She quickly shot and killed him. A jury convicted her of the murder, and she’s currently serving a 10-year sentence.

Guyger's attorney, Michael Mowla, argued at a hearing on Tuesday that although Guyger admitted to killing Jean, she shot him because of a reasonable mistake of fact.

"Yes, she intended to pull the trigger. Yes, she intended to kill who she thought was an intruder in her home," he said.

That mistake, Mowla continued, means Guyger did not have "evil intent."

The three judges, at different points, questioned Mowla's arguments.

"Just because of her alleged mistaken belief about where she was, doesn't negate her intent to kill," said Justice Robbie Partida-Kipness.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, in a brief, said the mistake-of-fact defense and the self-defense argument are separate, and Guyger cannot “shoe-horn” one into the other.

“[Guyger] intended to cause Botham’s death. That’s murder,” Creuzot argued.

Prosecutor Doug Gladden brought that argument to Tuesday's hearing.

"It's not negligent. It's not mistake-of-fact. It's not justified," he said.

Jean, an employee of the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was 26 years old.

The court did not specify when it would make a decision on Guyger's appeal.

The proceedings were livestreamed. You can watch them in the player below.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at bjaspers@kera.org. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.