Jury selection begins in Dallas officer’s murder trial
Jury selection is expected to begin Friday in the case of a former Dallas police officer who faces a murder charge after she shot and killed a man in his own apartment last September, according to CNN affiliate KTVT.
Amber Guyger shot and killed Botham Jean, an unarmed black man, after entering his apartment, believing that it was her own, according to police.
Guyger’s defense team has requested a change of venue for the trial, citing “prejudicial” and “inflammatory” media coverage. But earlier this week, the judge ruled that a decision would not be made on that request until it was determined whether a jury could be selected in Dallas County, KTVT reported.
Guyger, who is white, was off-duty at the time of the shooting, which occurred one year ago on Friday. Still in uniform, she parked her car at her apartment complex and went to what she believed was her apartment, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. She did not realize she was on the wrong floor.
The door was slightly ajar as she tried to use her key, which has an electronic chip. When she opened it, the inside of the apartment was almost completely dark, the affidavit says. Guyger described seeing a large silhouette and believed there was an intruder.
She drew her firearm and issued verbal commands, the affidavit says. But Jean, who was in his own home, did not heed them.
Guyger fired two shots, hitting Jean once in the torso, the affidavit says.
The officer called 911 and rendered aid to Jean. But it wasn’t until she turned on the lights and was asked for her address that Guyger realized she was in the wrong apartment, she told police.
“I thought it was my apartment,” Guyger told the 911 dispatcher repeatedly.
Jean, who was 26, died later at a hospital.
Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was fired in a Sept. 24 hearing following an investigation led by the Texas Rangers.
Initially, then-Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson presented a manslaughter case to a grand jury. But jurors upgraded the charge to murder, which Johnson said indicated that they felt Guyger’s actions were “knowing” or intentional.
“He didn’t deserve it,” Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, previously said. “He was seated in his own apartment. He felt safe and he was violated by her coming in and murdering him.”
An attorney for Guyger has called the shooting “a terrible tragedy that resulted from a true mistake.”
“We are confident that a dispassionate jury in a fair forum will objectively apply the law to the facts and find Amber not guilty,” Robert Rogers previously said.