Amber Guyger Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Murder of Botham Jean - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Guyger Murder Trial

Guyger Murder Trial

Amber Guyger Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Murder of Botham Jean

Sentencing testimony began Tuesday after the guilty verdict was read

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    Forgiveness, Anger After Guyger Sentenced to 10 Years

    A Dallas police officer who said she mistook a neighbor's apartment for her own and fatally shot him in his living room was sentenced to a decade in prison in a stunning courtroom scene that included the dead man's brother and the judge embracing the sobbing officer. (Published Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019)

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    A Dallas County jury sentenced Wednesday former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who was convicted of the murder of Botham Jean, to 10 years in prison on an emotional day in court that included an embrace of Guyger by Jean's younger brother.

    The jury found Guyger guilty of murder on Tuesday, in a case in which she said she mistook Jean's apartment for her own.

    Raw Video: Judge Reads the Sentencing Verdict of Amber GuygerRaw Video: Judge Reads the Sentencing Verdict of Amber Guyger

    Judge Tammy Kemp read the sentencing verdict from the jury that sentenced Amber Guyger to 10 years in prison.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Closing statements concluded Wednesday afternoon, as the jury deliberated for less than two hours before they reached a unanimous decision on her sentence.

    NBC 5's Jack Highberger and Larry Collins covered the trial every day from the courthouse and provided context to the sentencing proceedings in the live blog below.

    People outside of the courtroom reacted angrily to the sentence given to Amber Guyger in the death of Botham Jean, believing it was too lenient. But Jean's brother addressed her directly from the witness stand.

    Brandt Jean told Guyger that his brother would have wanted her to turn her life over to Christ, and that if she can ask God for forgiveness, she will get it.

    "I love you as a person. I don't wish anything bad on you," he said to the 31-year-old Guyger, before adding, "I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug?"

    Botham Jean's Brother Says 'I Love You,' Hugs Amber GuygerBotham Jean's Brother Says 'I Love You,' Hugs Amber Guyger

    The brother of Botham Jean gives his family impact statement directed to Amber Guyger. Brandt Jean said he forgave Guyger and urged her to "embrace Christ." At the end of his statement, Brandt asked if he could hug Guyger which the judge allowed in following emotional moments in the courtroom.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    The judge said he could, and Brandt and Guyger stood up, met in front of the bench and embraced while Guyger cried. Judge Tammy Kemp also hugged Guyger before she was led from the courtroom.

    Jurors could have sentenced the former officer to up to life in prison or as little as two years, but prosecutors asked them to send her to prison for 28 years, which is how old Botham Jean would have been if he were still alive.

    Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a former trial judge, called Brandt Jean's embrace of Guyger an "an amazing act of healing and forgiveness that is rare in today's society ... especially for many of our leaders."

    If the 18-year-old brother "can heal and express healing in that fashion, in his words and in his deeds, I would hope that the greater community, not just Dallas but all of Texas and all of the United States, could gain a message from that," he told reporters.

    Dallas County DA: 'Respects' Jury's Decision in Guyger TrialDallas County DA: 'Respects' Jury's Decision in Guyger Trial

    Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot spoke to the media after the Amber Guyger trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson issued a statement saying he was "deeply moved" and would "never, ever forget the incredible examples of love, faith and strength personified by Botham, Brandt and the entire Jean family."

    Guyger's attorney asked jurors to show mercy, pointing to the good she did for people, including some who spoke at the hearing.

    Among them was officer Cathy Odhiambo, who described Guyger as a longtime friend who dreamed of being a police officer when they waited tables at a TGI Fridays. She said the two of them went through the academy and them came through the police ranks together.

    "Everybody that knows her knows that Amber is the sweetest person," Odhiambo said.

    Dallas Police Officer and Friend of Guyger TestifiesDallas Police Officer and Friend of Guyger Testifies

    Dallas police officer and friend of Amber Guyger, Cathy Odhiambo, testified as a character witness for the defense Wednesday morning.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Odhiambo was not asked about text messages that prosecutors said indicated a lack of sensitivity by Guyger toward black people. However, another fellow officer, Thomas MacPherson, said some of those texts sounded "out of character" for Guyger, whom he described as "someone you could depend on."

    When a sniper opened fire on police during a rally in downtown Dallas three years ago, killing five of them, Guyger was "so brave," MacPherson said. He said the two of them ran toward the gunfire and helped panicked citizens along the way.

    LaWanda Clark said she met Guyger when the former officer busted a drug house, and that it helped change her life. She was struggling with a crack cocaine addiction. Guyger, while ticketing her, told her it could be the catalyst for turning around her life. She said Guyger treated her as a person, not an addict, and that she's now sober.

    LaWanda Clark Testifies for Amber GuygerLaWanda Clark Testifies for Amber Guyger

    LaWanda Clark, who says Amber Guyger helped her during difficult times while Guyger was an officer, testified as a character witness for the prosecution.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    As Clark spoke, Guyger's lawyers showed jurors a photo of Guyger attending Clark's graduation from a community drug treatment program.

    Jean's father told jurors about how his son's death upended his life back in St. Lucia.

    Bertrum Jean said that after his son left their Caribbean island for college in Arkansas, he would call home every Sunday after church to catch up with the tightly knit family. Now, he said, his Sundays "have been destroyed."

    "How could we have lost Botham? Such a sweet boy. He tried his best to live a good honest life. He loved God. He loved everyone. How could this happen to him?" the father said, breaking into tears.

    'I'll Never See Him Again': Jean's Father Emotional on Stand'I'll Never See Him Again': Jean's Father Emotional on Stand

    Botham Jean's father, Bertrum Jean, reflects on Sunday conversations with his son and talks about how Botham's death impacted their family.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Guyger's mother, Karen Guyger, was the first witness the defense called Wednesday.

    Karen Guyger said Amber Guyger is the youngest of three children, and defense attorneys showed several family photos to the jury.

    Upon questioning from defense attorneys, Karen Guyger testified that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by an adult male when she was a young child.

    Guyger's Mother Takes Stand in Sentencing PhaseGuyger's Mother Takes Stand in Sentencing Phase

    Amber Guyger's mother, Karen Guyger, testifies during the punishment phase of her daughter's murder trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Wednesday's testimony started with Alexis Stossel, a friend of Botham Jean's from college. She recalled how she explained her friendship with Jean to her husband to illustrate how close they were.

    "I love you, but this man is going to be in my life forever," Stossel said she told her husband. "He's going to be a part of us forever. I can't imagine living life without my other person."

    Botham Jean's Close Friend Takes the StandBotham Jean's Close Friend Takes the Stand

    Botham Jean's friend, Alexis Stossel took the stand Tuesday morning as a character witness for the prosecution.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    A high school friend who played in an all-female mariachi band with Amber Guyger said the former Dallas police officer feels "immense remorse" for fatally shooting a neighbor in his own apartment.

    Maribel Chavez testified that she met Guyger in ninth grade during orchestra practice. They later went on to play in a mariachi band, with Guyger playing violin and trumpet.

    Chavez said Guyger is typically bubbly and extroverted, but that since she killed her neighbor, Botham Jean, in September 2018, "It's like you shut her light off."

    She described her friend as selfless, caring and a protector of those around her.

    Guyger Doesn't Feel She Deserves Happiness, Friend SaysGuyger Doesn't Feel She Deserves Happiness, Friend Says

    Maribel Chavez testified on Amber Guyger's behalf Wednesday, saying she didn't feel that Guyger thought she deserved love. Chavez said she met Guyger in high school and the two remained friends as they formed a mariachi band together.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    'She's Not Amber Anymore,' Guyger's Friend Testifies'She's Not Amber Anymore,' Guyger's Friend Testifies

    Brenda Flores, a friend of Amber Guyger's from high school and her mariachi band, tells the jury that Guyger is a different person since the shooting of Botham Jean.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Jean's mother, Allison Jean, criticized the investigation into her son's death and the police training to shoot to kill.

    If Guyger "was trained not to shoot in the heart, my son would be alive today. He was no threat to her. He had no reason to be a threat to her, because he was in his own apartment," Allison Jean said.

    Allison Jean: 'There is Much More to Be Done'Allison Jean: 'There is Much More to Be Done'

    Botham Jean's mother, Allison Jean says there's much more to be done after former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of her son. Allison Jean said "the City of Dallas needs to clean up inside" and said "the Dallas Police Department has a lot of laundry to do."

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    On Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from Allison Jean, Botham Jean’s mother. "I cannot sleep. I can't eat. It's just been the most terrible time for me," she told the court.

    Botham Jean's family told the jury the story of his life, his accomplishments and the legacy he left behind. Prosecutors told jurors more about Amber Guyger as well.

    Dallas County Sheriff Official Comforts Amber GuygerDallas County Sheriff Official Comforts Amber Guyger

    A Dallas County Sheriff official was seen comforting Amber Guyger shortly after her murder verdict was announced on Tuesday morning. She was convicted of murder in the killing of her unarmed neighbor Botham Jean in his apartment. 

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    The state presented racially-insensitive text messages sent while Guyger was working a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade. The team also presented social media posts that prosecutors say give a glimpse into Guyger's mind.

    Prosecution in Amber Guyger Trial Gives Final StatementsProsecution in Amber Guyger Trial Gives Final Statements

    The prosecution in the Amber Guyger trial gave final statements Wednesday afternoon after character witness statements were concluded.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Those posts included one from Pinterest which reads, "I wear all black to remind you not to mess with me, because I'm already dressed for your funeral."

    Her defense attorneys can argue that she deserves a light sentence because she acted out of confusion and fear that she had found an intruder in her home. 

    Criminologist: Guyger Verdict Turning Point In Police Shooting CasesCriminologist: Guyger Verdict Turning Point In Police Shooting Cases

    Convictions of police officers are rare but following the Amber Guyger verdict, Dallas County jurors have now convicted two police officers of murder in the last year.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019)

    Witnesses for Defense Take Stand

    Amber Guyger's Sister Takes the StandAmber Guyger's Sister Takes the Stand

    Amber Guyger's sister, Alana, took the stand Wednesday morning as a character witness for the defense.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    LaWanda Clark Testifies for Amber GuygerLaWanda Clark Testifies for Amber Guyger

    LaWanda Clark, who says Amber Guyger helped her during difficult times while Guyger was an officer, testified as a character witness for the prosecution.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Dallas Police Officer and Friend of Guyger TestifiesDallas Police Officer and Friend of Guyger Testifies

    Dallas police officer and friend of Amber Guyger, Cathy Odhiambo, testified as a character witness for the defense Wednesday morning.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Training Officer for Amber Guyger TestifiesTraining Officer for Amber Guyger Testifies

    Dallas Police Department detective, Rhonda Richeson, who was the field training officer for Amber Guyger when she was recruit testified as a character witness for the defense Wednesday morning.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Witnesses for Prosecution Take Stand  

    Botham Jeans Mother Takes the StandBotham Jeans Mother Takes the Stand

    Botham Jean's mother Allison Jean took the stand on Tuesday afternoon as a witness for the prosecution.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019)

    Botham Jean's Sister Takes StandBotham Jean's Sister Takes Stand

    Botham Jean's sister Allisa Findley took the stand on Tuesday afternoon as a witness for the prosecution.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019)

    Botham Jean's Close Friend Takes the StandBotham Jean's Close Friend Takes the Stand

    Botham Jean's friend, Alexis Stossel took the stand Tuesday morning as a character witness for the prosecution.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Insight From Trial Experts

    Will the Guyger Prosecution Push for Max Sentence?Will the Guyger Prosecution Push for Max Sentence?

    Dr. Mary Noffsinger, a specialist in jury consultation and trial research with Courtroom Sciences, Inc., provides insight on possible strategies being used by the prosecution as sentencing continues in the Amber Guyger murder trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Guyger Sentencing Explained by a Former ProsecutorGuyger Sentencing Explained by a Former Prosecutor

    Erin Hendricks, an attorney and former prosecutor, gives her insight on what the jury must consider during the sentencing phase in the Amber Guyger murder trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Former Dallas Co. Prosecutor; 'I've Never Seen Anything Like It'Former Dallas Co. Prosecutor; 'I've Never Seen Anything Like It'

    Former Dallas County Prosecutor Erin Hendricks talks about the moment that Botham Jean's brother ask permission to give Amber Guyger a hug, saying "I've never seen anything like it."

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Reaction After Trial

    Dallas County DA: 'Respects' Jury's Decision in Guyger TrialDallas County DA: 'Respects' Jury's Decision in Guyger Trial

    Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot spoke to the media after the Amber Guyger trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    Chief Hall Addresses the Public Concerning Guyger TrialChief Hall Addresses the Public Concerning Guyger Trial

    Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall addressed the public Wednesday evening concerning the Guyger trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

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