Amber Guyger murder appeal charge in death of Botham Jean.
Former police officer Amber Guyger, who was found guilty of murdering her neighbor Botham Jean when she entered his apartment in 2018, has filed an appeal for her conviction. Guyger has requested to be either acquitted of murder or acquitted and charged with the lesser crime of criminally negligent homicide, claiming she believed Jean was an intruder in her own apartment and therefore “had the right to act in deadly force.”
Guyger killed Jean, 26, on September 6, 2018, when she returned to her apartment building after a more than 13-hour shift. Rather than entering her own apartment, she entered Jean’s, which was directly above hers. Upon entering, she found Jean sitting on the couch eating ice cream, thought he was an intruder, and shot him in the heart. She was found guilty of Jean’s murder last October because her mistake was “not reasonable,” and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
But Guyger’s attorneys argue in an appeal that the evidence originally submitted in the case “was legally insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Guyger committed murder.” They said she was confused about her location because the third and fourth floors, where her and Jean’s apartments were located, look identical.
“Her mistaken belief negated the culpability for murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean’s death, she had the right to act in deadly force in self-defense since her belief that deadly force was immediately necessary was reasonable under the circumstances,” the appeal reads.
Although she also had a taser and pepper spray on her person along with the gun that was used to kill Jean, Guyger’s attorneys argue that officers are trained to not use these weapons “when faced with a deadly situation.”
“Despite the tragic consequences, considering all the evidence — whether admissible or inadmissible … Guyger acted reasonably,” the appeal says, saying that she “simply missed” the clues that she was entering the wrong apartment, such as the red doormat outside of Jean’s apartment and the key lock to enter the apartment blinking red because she tried to enter with the wrong key fob.
During the murder trial, prosecutors said Guyger should have done more to help Jean after shooting him, but that she was more concerned about what would happen to herself. When she called 911, she repeatedly told the operator she was going to lose her job.
Guyger’s lawyers argued that Jean’s death happened because of the “malfunction” on his door and the “absurd design” and “incompetent management” of the apartment building.
Attorneys interviewed 297 out of 349 residents in the building, the appeal says, and 71 of them who lived on Guyger’s and Jean’s floors allegedly said they had walked to the wrong apartment on the wrong floor.
Criminally negligent homicide as a third-degree felony, the appeal says, usually has a maximum jail time of 10 years. Under the charge, Guyger would be eligible for probation from the jury.