A key witness in the murder trial of the former Dallas police officer who killed Botham Jean in his apartment has been found shot dead.
Joshua Brown, who lived in the same apartment complex as the ex-police officer Amber Guyger and the shooting victim Botham Jean, was shot and killed Friday in the parking lot of the apartment complex in Dallas.
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.
28-year-old Brown, while testifying in Guyger’s trial, said he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he lived with the victim, Jean.
According to him, he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” and then two gunshots.
Brown said he had met Jean from the Caribbean island nation of St Lucia, for the first time earlier that day.
Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus said Brown “bravely came forward to testify when others wouldn’t.”
His death has come as a shock to many.
Witnesses told police they heard several gunshots and saw a silver four-door sedan speeding out of the parking lot, according to a police news release cited by The Guardian.
The Dallas police said they responded to the shooting shortly after 10.30 pm Friday. Scores of witnesses flagged officers down when they arrived and directed them to an apartment parking lot where Brown was lying on the ground with multiple wounds.
He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Jean family, said he spoke with Brown’s mother and that she is “devastated”.
“Joshua Brown was a key witness in the murder of Botham Jean that helped put Amber Guyger away. We need answers,” Merrit said in a tweet.
Guyger, 31, was found guilty of murder Tuesday for fatally shooting Jean who was her neighbour last year.
She has been given a 10-year jail term and she would be eligible for parole in five years, CNN reports.
The final day of the sentencing witnessed emotional scenes. After the sentence was announced, Jean’s younger brother Brandt offered Guyger his forgiveness.
“If you truly are sorry, I know I could speak for myself I forgive you and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you,” Brandt said somberly.
“I love you just like anyone else,” he continued “and I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother but I personally want the best for you and I wasn’t gonna say this in front of my family or anyone else but I don’t even want you to go jail.
“I want the best for you because I know that’s what exactly Bothan would want you to do and the best would be to give your life to Christ.”
Brandt proceeded to ask the judge for a chance to hug Guyger as she embarks on her 10-year prison sentence – a request the judge granted. The two embraced for a minute.
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 color.
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?”