Amber Guyger convicted of murder for killing Botham Jean
A Dallas County jury convicted fired officer Amber Guyger of murder for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his apartment last year.
Cheers broke out in the hallway outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced.
Jurors will now resume deliberating to decide Guyger’s punishment. In Texas, murder carries a punishment of five to 99 years or life in prison. The charge is not eligible for probation.
Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old Jean in his apartment last year. She had said she mistook his apartment for her own and thought Jean was a burglar. She is the first Dallas officer convicted of murder since the 1970s.
Jurors began deliberating Monday after the prosecution and Guyger's defense presented closing arguments. They delivered their verdict after about five hours of deliberations.
Jean's mother, Allison Jean, leaned her head back as state District Judge Tammy Kemp read the verdict. Her daughter, Allisa Findley, slumped in her seat, put her face in her hands and wept.
Allison Jean's face crumpled as she put both hands in the air. As she walked out of the courtroom, she said "God is good. Trust him."
One woman in a red dress in the gallery cheered and clapped her hands. A bailiff immediately yelled "no" and she was quiet.
Jean's grandmother raised her right fist in the air as she left the courtroom.
After hearing the verdict, Guyger stood still until the jury left. Then, she sank down into her chair.
More than two dozen bailiffs lined the courtroom and the hallway outside. Some of the patches in their uniforms indicated they were with the tactical unit, though they had no extra gear.
At one point, one bailiff asked another if they had enough people. "No," another responded.
The crowd in the hallway after the verdict was boisterous but not unruly. When prosecutors walked out, people gave them a round of raucous applause and cheers.
In the hallway, Guyger's mother was shaking.
Guyger left the courtroom about 15 minutes after the verdict. She'll be back when the sentencing phase of her trial begins at about 1 p.m.
As deliberations entered a second day, jurors may consider the "castle doctrine," known as Texas' "Stand Your Ground" law. The law was clearly on their minds first thing Tuesday morning.
An attorney for the Jean family, Daryl K. Washington, told reporters that the jury sent two notes to state District Judge Tammy Kemp, asking for clarification on the charge of manslaughter — they've been given a choice between murder, manslaughter and acquittal — and for more information about the castle doctrine."
"If Amber Guyger is allowed to use that defense ... what would've happened if Botham would've shot her for coming into his home?" Washington said, citing the jury's question. "Would he have been able to use the castle doctrine?"
Testimony stretched across six days after the trial began Sept. 23. Jurors had heard from officers who responded first to the scene the night of the shooting and watched how they frantically tried to save Jean’s life.
They also heard from people who lived at the apartment complex where Guyger and Jean lived and as well as testimony from a medical examiner, a crime scene analyst and the Texas Rangers' lead investigator for the shooting.
Guyger's defense team had urged the jury to think "coolly and calmly" about the case, which they cast as a tragic mistake.
They have said Guyger made a "series of horrible mistakes" that led to her shooting Jean out of fear for her life.
But the prosecution said arguments of self-defense don't apply to Guyger because Jean was not a threat. They said Guyger had other options besides killing Jean and that she acted unreasonably by failing to notice she wasn't at her apartment.