'Mistake of Fact' Defense in Play in Guyger Murder Trial - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Guyger Murder Trial

Guyger Murder Trial

'Mistake of Fact' Defense in Play in Guyger Murder Trial

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    'Mistake of Fact' Defense in Play in Guyger Murder Trial

    A former Dallas County prosecutor says the Guyger murder case will come down to her 'mistake of fact' defense. (Published Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019)

    Amber Guyger's attorneys are preparing to argue for her freedom.

    The former Dallas police officer is on trial for murder in the shooting death of Botham Jean.

    On Thursday, the prosecution rested its case.

    Dressed in red, Jean's favorite color, his parents left the courtroom Thursday after four days of testimony.

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    Jurors saw more body camera video, the gun Guyger used, and bullet found in Jean's body.

    There's never been a dispute that Guyger pulled the trigger but former Dallas County Prosecutor Erin Hendricks says the case isn't a slam dunk.

    "It's a really legally interesting case, how 'mistake of fact' can be such a powerful defense," she said.

    Hendricks isn't involved in the trial but says it will all come down to Guyger's 'mistake of fact' defense.

    If the jury believes she was mistaken in entering the wrong apartment and perceived Jean as a deadly threat, Hendricks says Guyger could be acquitted of murder.

    "So the real question is whether the mistake of fact defense negates that intent, and if it does she should be found not guilty," Hendricks explained.

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    Throughout the trial Guyger has shown some emotion, but Hendricks says it's her frantic 911 call the night in question that could sway the jury.

    During the call, Guyger is heard saying 19 times, "I thought it was my apartment."

    "It's very authentic, it's the moment of," Hendricks said. "Their perception of her in that moment might be even more important than what their perception of her is in the courtroom at council table."

    Guyger is expected to testify and Hendricks says the jury's perception of her is critical.

    The jury, she says, could consider lesser charges like manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.

    We won't find that out until after closing arguments.

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