Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder Tuesday for fatally shooting her neighbour Bothan Jean.
Guyger murdered Jean in cold blood last year after she ‘mistakenly’ went to his apartment thinking it was hers. When her key did not work, Jean opened the door and was fatally shot.
On a $300,000 bond, Guyger, 31, faces a maximum of life in prison. Guyger was not immediately taken into custody and is awaiting sentencing scheduled later Tuesday afternoon, reports NBC News.
According to reports, an audible cry was heard in the courtroom as state District Judge Tammy Kemp read the jury’s decision.
CNN reports that Jean’s mother threw both arms up in the air upon hearing the guilty verdict with another woman shouting in praise.
People in the hallway began clapping and cheering loudly the doors of the courtroom opened.
There were shouts of “Guilty! Guilty!” and “black lives matter” from those in the hallway, CNN reports as Guyger shed tears.
Guyger was convicted of murder by the jury empanelled after less than 24 hours of deliberation, according to reports. The jurors were asked to decide whether or not Guyger acted reasonably in fatally shooting Jean, allowing them the option of convicting her to a lesser offence of manslaughter.
The verdict of the jurors brings an end to a case that has roiled national attention and sparked anger among black people. Most of them hold a skeptical view of the American criminal justice system as evidence abounds of its discriminatory nature against blacks and people of colour.
Guyger, who is white, in her testimony to the court, said she parked on the wrong floor of the Dallas apartment complex where she lives on September 6, 2018. She then walked to the apartment which belonged to Jean who was black and shot him on the assumption that he was an intruder.
Guyger was off-duty but in uniform when she heinously shot twice at Jean striking him in the chest in his apartment which she mistook for hers.
Jean, a 26-year old graduate of Harding University in Arkansas and a risk assurance associate, died later in a hospital. The news of his death resulted in the call for disarming of the police, with mourners holding up banners reading “Disarm off duty police,” “Life is not a white privilege” and “Where is justice when police kill us?”
Attorney for the Jean family S. Lee Merrit, reacting to the verdict on Twitter, said: “Botham did not deserve to die. His family deserved justice.”
On behalf of the family of Botham Shem Jean, thank you Dallas County for delivering the proper murder conviction of Amber Guyger. Botham did not deserve to die. His family deserved justice. pic.twitter.com/zHdYRINKhN— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 1, 2019
The court is expected to hear from witnesses later Tuesday afternoon before Guyger’s sentencing.
Meanwhile, testifying in her defence last week, Guyger told jurors she was scared for her life when she entered the apartment she mistook for hers, suggesting she had shot Guyger in defence.
“I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I’m so sorry,” Guyger said on the stand. “This is not about hate — it’s about being scared.”