On September 6, 2018, Dallas, Texas police officer Amber Guyger fatally shot her upstairs neighbor.
Update: 3:00 p.m. ET
Jason Hermus, the lead prosecutor for Dallas County, argued ahead of opening statements that Amber Guyger’s cellphone records, web searches and text messages on the night she fatally shot her neighbor should be admissible. Hermus argued that the electronic evidence goes “to show her state of mind.” District Judge Tammy Kemp ruled the jury can hear about the text messages.
In his opening statement, Hermus set out to establish that she was not paying attention. She missed numerous opportunities in the two minutes it took her to walk from her improperly parked car. She walked past 16 different apartments with the number 14 where it should have said 13. Mr. Jean had a bright red floor mat outside his apartment where Guyger had “bare cement.” Guyger’s neighbor had a huge ornamental planter, missing from the crime scene.
The prosecutor also revealed that the texts indicate that Guyger, “had been having a sexual relationship with Martin Rivera, her partner on the Dallas police force, and that she was on the phone with him as she drove into the parking garage and just prior to shooting Jean.” They talked about how “horny” they were. Prosecutors also said “Guyger sent Rivera a sexually suggestive Snapchat message during the night of the shooting that said, ‘Wanna touch?’ and that they had plans to meet up later.”
The biggest point that Hermus hammered home was that not once did she mention that she felt threatened or thought that Jean had a weapon. In fact he seems to have been cowering behind his couch. She shot him simply because “he was in her apartment.”
The Jury is on a meal break and when the trial resumes, Guyger’s defense team is expected to make their own opening statements. It’s anticipated they will argue that “Jean’s death was a mistake with no criminal intent behind it.”
A “mistake of fact” defense depends on convincing the jury that Guyger made a “reasonable error,” when she used deadly force on an assumed “intruder in her own home.”
Botham Jean was sitting on his couch eating ice cream. Guyger wrapped up a 15-hour shift then parked her car on the fourth floor of her building when she actually lived on the third floor.
When she got to the door she thought was hers, the door was slightly ajar. She didn’t need to use her key card but when she tried, it swung the door wider.
She claimed to 911 that she saw a silhouette of a large individual in the darkness. She says she issued verbal commands which weren’t followed so she opened fire.
Mr. Jean was minding his own business and before he could make sense out of what the incoherent cop was shouting at him, he was dead.
After arguing over what evidence could or could not be used to present to the jury, Opening arguments are getting underway. The prosecutor is currently describing the circumstances of the day in question.
The prosecutor is describing that text messages indicate Guyger was planning a sexual encounter with her partner for that evening. She didn’t notice that she parked on the wrong floor even though the view is completely different.
This article will be updated as information develops.
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