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Amber Guyger, the former Dallas cop convicted of killing her neighbor in his own apartment, has taken a key step toward appealing her conviction.
Her appellate attorney filed a notice of appeal last week for both her murder conviction and her 10-year sentence. The notice does not necessarily mean Guyger will actually appeal. But filing it was a necessary step to keep that option open, since Texas rules require a defendant file a notice of appeal within 30 days after a sentence is imposed or suspended in court.
“My sense is it will be months before any formal appeal, if a formal appeal is filed,” Robert Rogers, the lead trial attorney for Guyger, told VICE News Wednesday.
Guyger, 31, was convicted of murdering her 26-year-old neighbor Botham Jean earlier this month. Guyger claimed she had entered Jean’s apartment by mistake after a long shift, then proceeded to shoot him dead as he watched TV while eating ice cream.
Her attorneys argued “stand your ground” laws applied, since Guyger said she thought she was in her apartment, which was on an entirely different floor.
During the trial, Guyger apologized for killing Jean and said she wished she was the one who died that day in September 2018.
“I am so sorry,” Guyger said. “This is not about hate. It’s about being scared that night.”
When Guyger appeared in court for her sentencing earlier this month, Jean’s brother approached the former cop and hugged his brother’s killer. The moment of forgiveness went viral.
At her trial, the judge also hugged Guyger and gave her a Bible, after Guyger received her sentence of 10 years in prison. But now its possible she’ll try to undo that sentence.
Rogers said he would not be involved in the appeal process but that Guyger’s team would have to take time to decide whether it was the correct move.
“You don’t want to file a frivolous appeal, you have to assess whether there is a viable appeal,” he said.
Cover: In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, file pool photo, fired Dallas police officer Amber Guyger becomes emotional as she testifies in her murder trial in Dallas. Guyger, who said she fatally shot her unarmed, black neighbor after mistaking his apartment for her own was found guilty of murder on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool, File)