Dallas Morning News:– A Dallas appeals court on Wednesday upheld the murder conviction of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who fatally shot Botham Jean inside his apartment in September 2018.
Guyger appealed to the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas to overturn her murder conviction, arguing her mistaken belief that she was in her own apartment does not make her culpable for murder. She asked the judges to lessen her charge to criminally negligent homicide, which carries up to two years in prison. This was the second time the court ruled to uphold Guyger’s conviction.
In an opinion issued Wednesday, the judges affirmed a 2019 trial court’s conviction and sentencing of Guyger, who is serving a 10-year sentence in a Texas prison.
Guyger, who was a Dallas police officer still in uniform when she shot Jean, testified at her trial that she believed she had entered her apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, about 10 p.m. She actually had entered Jean’s apartment, which was on another floor directly above hers.
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Jean was a 26-year-old accountant who was eating vanilla ice cream and getting ready to watch football when Guyger opened the door to his apartment and fired her police-department issued gun. Jean was a native of St. Lucia and had dreams of returning there one day to run for prime minister.
Guyger testified that she shot to kill Jean because she believed he was an intruder in her apartment who was going to kill her. She argued in her appeal and at her trial that the fatal shooting of Jean was self-defense.
In their opinion, judges on the Fifth Court of Appeals echoed their earlier judgement that Guyger’s deadly force was not reasonable.
She made the same appeal to the court in earlier this year. The court upheld her conviction in that appeal as well.
Chief Justice Robert Burns and Justices Lana Myers and Robbie Partida-Kipness said in the ruling that the evidence did not support a charge of criminally negligent homicide rather than murder.
“That she was mistaken as to Jean’s status as a resident in his own apartment or a burglar in hers does not change her mental state from intentional or knowing to criminally negligent,” the justices wrote. The justices made a similar statement in their ruling on her first appeal.
The city renamed the street where the murder occurred Botham Jean Boulevard. The Dallas Police Department headquarters is just blocks away on the same street.