News by VICE

Amber Guyger Found Guilty of Murder After Fatally Shooting a Black Man in His Own Apartment

The ex-Dallas cop's lawyers had argued that “stand your ground” laws applied since she believed she was in her own apartment.

by Emma Ockerman
Oct 1 2019, 6:07pm

Amber Guyger, the ex-Dallas cop who fatally shot an unarmed black man moments after mistakenly entering his apartment after her shift, has been found guilty of murder.

After less than 24 hours of deliberation and several days of widely-followed testimony, a Dallas jury unanimously concluded that officer Amber Guyger, who is white, had no excuse for killing a man in an apartment she apparently thought was her own.

Late on Sept. 6, 2018, Guyger, 31, walked into the wrong apartment after a daylong shift and mistook Botham Jean, 26, as an intruder, since the door was unlocked and slightly ajar. Jean was watching TV and eating ice cream. Guyger, not knowing she was on the wrong floor, demanded he put his hands in the air.

Throughout the trial, Guyger’s attorneys claimed she was acting in self-defense when she fired two shots as Botham walked toward her.

The jury wasn’t buying it. Since Botham’s apartment was on a different floor, there were plenty of signs in the hallways that should’ve told Guyger she was in the wrong place, prosecuting attorneys argued.

“For Amber Guyger, Mr. Jean was dead before that door ever opened,” Jason Hermus, the lead prosecutor in the case, said during the trial, according to the Washington Post.

Guyger’s attorneys, meanwhile, argued that “stand your ground” laws applied to her case, since she believed she was in her own apartment and under attack.

Guyger was arrested days after the shooting and charged with manslaughter. She was also fired from her job on the force, where she had been for nearly five years. Jurors had to determine whether she was guilty of manslaughter or murder, a harsher charge with a potentially longer prison sentence.

The murder conviction could mean Guyger is sentenced to life in prison. The Botham family reportedly sobbed after the jury delivered the murder verdict, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day," Guyger told the jury last week, according to CNN. "I wish he was the one with the gun who had killed me. I never wanted to take an innocent person's life."

Cover: Fired Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger listens as her attorneys make arguments during her murder trial, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, in Dallas. Guyger went on trial in the shooting death of a black neighbor as attorneys sparred over whether the officer was distracted by a phone call when she mistook the neighbor's apartment for her own and the victim for an intruder. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Amber Guyger
Botham Jean
Dallas cops