Former police officer Amber Guyger’s attorneys have filed an appeal to reduce her murder charges to criminally negligent homicide. According to NBC 5, “The lesser charge would possibly mean Guyger could be released on parole.”
The former Dallas officer was convicted of the 2018 murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean as he sat watching TV in his apartment. Guyger claimed that she had accidentally entered the wrong apartment and shot Jean after believing him to be an intruder.
In the brief, Guyger’s attorneys wrote:
“The evidence was legally insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Guyger committed Murder because (1) through mistake, Guyger formed a reasonable belief about a matter of fact—that she entered her apartment and there was an intruder inside—and (2) her mistaken belief negated the culpability for Murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean’s death.”
The brief continued, “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 officer’s defense team wishes to present a new oral argument to convince the court that her actions should be classified as criminally negligent homicide. The attorney’s argument is predicated on the notion that the layout of the apartment complex was confusing, and the other tenants made similar mistakes.
The Dallas Morning News reported that out of 71 tenants, 44% indicated that they had walked into the wrong apartment on the wrong floor, and 23% claimed that they had gone to the wrong apartment and attempted to gain entry. Jean’s door was unlocked on the day that Guyger killed him.
NBC 5 spoke to the family of Botham Jean to get their reaction to the news. “I feel furious about it,” said Jean’s mother, Allison. “It really made me question the nerve of Amber Guyger and her attorneys to even think of wanting to file an appeal.”
The victim’s mother stated that if the case is retried, the former officer should be sentenced to life. “How can you kill someone in the comfort of their home and just say, ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “An apology and you get away with it? I mean, where in the world does that happen?”
Guyger’s lawyers argued that a murder conviction “requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally or knowingly caused the death of the complainant.” They asserted that while the former officer did intentionally shoot to kill, she thought her life was in danger. In the brief, the officer’s attorneys stated that they interviewed 297 out of 349 residents and that 23% of the tenants living on the third and fourth floors indicated that they had gone to the wrong door.
The former officer faced between five and 99 years in prison. She only received ten years. While an appeal could lead to a lesser sentence, there is also the possibility that she could be given a longer sentence.
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