What to Know Before the Amber Guyger Murder Trial - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Guyger Murder Trial

Guyger Murder Trial

What to Know Before the Amber Guyger Murder Trial

Amber Guyger fatally shot Botham Jean on Sept. 6, 2018

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jury Selection in Amber Guyger Murder Trial Begins

    One year to the day after Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean, jury selection began in her murder trial. (Published Friday, Sept. 6, 2019)

    The murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger is scheduled to begin Sept. 23 in Dallas County.

    Jury selection began Friday. Below is a detailed timeline of events in the case, beginning with the deadly shooting of Botham Jean.

    Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 — just before 10 p.m. — South Side Flats, 1210 S. Lamar Street, Dallas
    A uniformed, but off-duty, Dallas police officer goes into what she says she thought was her own apartment and shoots Botham Jean. She lived on the third floor at Southside Flats and Jean lived on the fourth.

    Jean later died at the hospital.

    Friday, Sept. 7 — Downtown Dallas — 1400 Lamar Street, Dallas
    Demonstrators hold the first of many protests over Jean's death, this one led by Mothers Against Police Brutality.

    "I need to look into her eyes and ask her why she did that to my son. She took away my heart. She took away my soul. She took away everything. He didn't deserve to die like that and the explanation does not make sense," Botham's mother Allison Jean says.

    Full Amber Guyger Timeline

    Saturday, Sept. 8
    Dallas police identify the officer as 30-year-old Amber Guyger, a four-year veteran of the force. Police Chief U. Renee Hall announces the Dallas Police Department has handed the investigation over to the Texas Rangers.

    Sunday, Sept. 9 — 10 a.m. — Dallas West Church of Christ — 3510 N. Hampton Road, Dallas
    Jean was a song leader at the church he attended in Dallas, and on the first Sunday after his death, the church is filled with family and friends. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings even attends the service, and after he heard Jean described by those who knew him, says, "One of the things you said that will be my North Star from now and in the near term… is that we need to be like Bo."

    Later that day — 6:37 p.m. — Kaufman County Sheriff's Office — 1900 U.S. 175, Kaufman, Texas
    Three days after the shooting, Guyger surrenders to authorities in Kaufman County on a manslaughter charge. She is out in less than two hours, before 8:30 p.m., after posting $300,000 bond.

    Also on Sunday, Sept. 9, The Dallas Morning News reports Guyger was able to enter Jean's apartment because the door was unlocked, citing an official with direct knowledge of the case.

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted a statement, left, after Amber Guyger, right, surrendered to authorities in Kaufman County.
    Photo credit: Twitter/Kaufman County Sheriff's Office

    Video Shows Amber Guyger Booked Into Jail Sunday NightVideo Shows Amber Guyger Booked Into Jail Sunday Night

    Video shows Dallas officer Amber Guyger being booked into the Kaufman County Jail Sunday, September 9, 2018. Guyger turned herself in to face a manslaughter charge after she shot and killed Botham Jean inside his apartment. Guyger is out after posting bond.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018)

    Monday, Sept. 1 — Dallas County District Attorney's Office — Frank Crowley Courts Building, N. Riverfront Boulevard, Dallas
    Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announces that a grand jury will hear the case to determine if a charge greater than manslaughter is warranted.

    "We will be prepared to present a full case to the grand jury," Johnson says at a morning press conference. She added that her office would "make certain that justice is done in this case. We will get to the bottom of everything."

    Later that afternoon, Guyger's arrest warrant affidavit is released. The document, prepared by a Texas Ranger, is criticized because it appears to be based entirely on Guyger's account of the shooting.

    When she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, the affidavit says. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to her account.

    Guyger told police that she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, which ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit says.

    Attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the Jean family, says he has statements from witnesses who claim they heard a different sequence of events.

    Later Monday
    Another night of protests in Downtown Dallas. The protests are in response to Guyger being charged with manslaughter instead of murder. It starts at 7 p.m. at police headquarters. A smaller group marches toward South Side Flats, as the larger group walks toward the Dallas Police Association headquarters.

    Tuesday, Sept. 11
    Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Casey Thomas issues a statement calling for the public to be patient while it awaits answers in Jean's death.

    I want to first offer my condolences to the family of Botham Shem Jean. You have suffered a tremendous loss.

    I would like to thank our city of Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall for her leadership of the Dallas Police Department and her willingness to take the action she saw necessary to address the tragic situation that has occurred in our city. Contrary to what has been said, Chief Hall asked the Texas Rangers to lead an independent investigation into this situation, and they willingly accepted.

    As the nation watches, I want you to know we will ensure this entire process is transparent and we will keep the lines of communication open to the family, community and religious leaders in our city.

    In this country, we have seen a number of police shootings of unarmed African American males, and for many mothers and fathers, this has been their worst possible nightmare. From the east coast to the west coast, and everywhere in between, we have seen this scenario played out time and time again.

    With this shooting happening on the heels of the verdict and sentencing of former Balch Springs Police officer Roy Oliver in the murder of Jordan Edwards, many people are on edge and are anxious to see something done quickly.

    I ask that you have patience as this investigation takes place. Now that there has been an arrest, the investigation will be led by the District Attorney’s office. I have confidence that District Attorney Faith Johnson and her team will present all of the evidence to the grand jury in an unbiased manner.

    Let's be there for the Jean family, and let’s support and encourage one another. Hold your loved ones close and continue to pray for the Jean family and our community.

    Wednesday, Sept. 12 — Dallas City Hall — 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas
    Protestors chanting, "No justice, no peace," force Rawlings to temporarily halt a Dallas City Council meeting.

    "What does it take for you to see that we are (expletive) tired," screamed an angry mother. "We are sick and tired of being tired."

    Rawlings and the Dallas City Council resume the meeting after they assure everyone in the gallery that they would have a turn to speak at the conclusion of the council's planned agenda.

    Thursday, Sept. 13
    A memorial service is held for Jean, where he is remembered as a devout Christian who loved to sing at church and always had time to help others.

    "He was always in the service of others, even when it wasn't convenient for him," says Alexis Stossel, a friend of Jean's from college.

    "Botham impacted everyone he knew," says Sammie Berry, minister at Dallas West Church of Christ. "He was so passionate about what he did, and everything was of excellence. If you knew him, you loved him. That's the kind of impact he had on people."

    Later Thursday
    A Dallas Police Department search warrant is obtained by NBC 5. It lists items found in Jean's apartment after the shooting. Some of the items on the list include:

    2 fired cartridge casings

    1 laptop computer

    1 black backpack with police equipment and paperwork

    1 insulated lunch box

    1 black ballistic vest with "police" markings

    10.4 grams of marijuana in zip-lock bags

    1 metal marijuana grinder

    2 RFID keys

    2 used packages of medical aid

    The document does not disclose who the items belong to and Jean's legal team pans the document as an attempt to "assassinate (Jean's) character.".

    Friday, Sept. 14
    Another search warrant is released — this one comes from Dallas County. It reveals investigators have turned their attention to the locks on the doors of Jean's and Guyger's apartments. It also focuses on surveillance cameras at Southside Flats to track Guyger's movements before the shooting.

    Later that night — More protests, as demonstrators block Interstate 30.

    Friday, Sept. 21
    Newly released court documents reveal three additional search warrants focused on gathering video of the minutes leading up to the shooting.

    The new warrants show investigators with the Dallas County District attorney's office have been seeking additional video footage from surveillance cameras on townhomes across the street from the South Side Flats apartments where Jean and Guyger both lived.

    Two of the warrants request doorbell video from two addresses on Arch Place. The warrants are served to Ring, the California-based company that provides doorbell security cameras systems.

    In a third warrant, investigators seek security camera video from ADT Security Services, for additional camera footage from an address on Arch Place.

    Monday, Sept. 24
    Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall fires Guyger.

    Tuesday, Oct. 16
    Jean's parents, Allison and Bertrum, meet with Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson for about three hours to receive an update on the investigation.

    "I am quite satisfied with the information that has been provided so far," Allison Jean says. "I trust that the process will continue so we can move toward getting justice for Botham."

    Week of Nov. 26
    A Dallas County grand jury hears the case against Guyger.

    After hearing the argument from the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, the grand jury could do one of three things: indict Guyger on the manslaughter charge, indict her on a more serious charge or choose not to indict her on any charge.

    Friday, Nov. 30
    The Dallas County grand jury indicts Amber Guyger for the murder of Botham Jean.

    Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 — Frank Crowley Courts Building
    Guyger and her legal team appear in court and the judge in the case, Tammy Kemp, issues a gag order because "as a result of statements made to, and published by, the press, a serious and imminent threat to the constitutional right of the defendant herein to a fair trial exists."

    Monday, March 18 — Frank Crowley Courts Building
    Guyger's trial date is set for Aug. 12. She and her attorneys make an appearance in court for "an announcement hearing," which is a chance for defense attorneys to meet with prosecutors in private to discuss evidence or other matters related to the case.

    Tuesday, April 2 — Frank Crowley Courts Building
    Guyger's legal team requests her trial date be moved back because one of her attorneys, Toby Shook, is the lead counsel in a federal case that is scheduled to begin July 29. Kemp grants the postponement, moving the trial date to Sept. 23.

    Friday, April 26
    Prosecutors dismiss at least nine cases in which Guyger was involved. Court records indicate four of the cases pertain to Guyger and another officer's apprehension of two men during a January 2018 traffic stop, while several of the cases are drug-related.

    Thursday, April 29
    A local media outlet obtains Amber Guyger's 911 call from the night Botham Jean was shot and killed.

    Wednesday, May 15
    Jean's family attends a summit on race, unity and leadership in Dallas.

    "These are exact things that he would've loved to be involved in. As I move around and as I interact with the people who knew him, it's still very emotional for me," Allison Jean says. "It really shows what an inspiration he was in his lifetime and the impact he had on people."

    Thursday, June 6
    Kemp admonishes local media for sharing sensitive information about the investigation. Specifically, she asks attorneys for both the prosecution and the defense if they have figured out who leaked Guyger's 911 call to a local TV station. Both sides insist the leak did not come from their offices.

    Monday, July 8
    Guyger's attorneys ask for the trial to be moved out of Dallas County, arguing she cannot receive a fair and impartial trial there. Toby Shook, Robert Rogers and Michael Mowla said the jury pool in Dallas County had been "poisoned" by pretrial publicity and a "false narrative" that race motivated the shooting.

    The team asked that the trial be moved to a county that is in the same judicial district as Dallas, specifically to one of the following counties: Collin, Grayson, Kaufman, Ellis, Rockwall or Fannin. As proof, the legal team cites 297 news articles as a sampling of the reporting done on the case since Sept. 6, 2018.

    Monday, July 22
    Court documents indicate former Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson is subpoenaed to appear in at least two pretrial hearings related to the murder trial. The defense asks for material related to Johnson's campaign for district attorney from Sept. 6, 2018 to Nov. 6, 2018, including scripts of speeches, ad copy, artwork, emails and text messages about Amber Guyger, Botham Jean or the same related to Johnson's campaign.

    Former Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Heath Harris says he thinks the defense will likely use the materials gathered and Johnson's testimony as part of its push for a change of venue.

    Monday, Aug. 12
    Kemp delays ruling on the change of venue request made by Guyger's defense team. Kemp says the request should not be considered until after jury selection is attempted in Dallas County.

    Made with Flourish

    Monday, Aug. 19
    At the final pretrial hearing before the murder trial, prosecutors enter into evidence Guyger's sidearm, along with its magazine and a "projectile" recovered from Jean's body during an autopsy. Also entered into evidence are more than 100 photographs taken by Dallas police.

    Friday, Sept. 6
    Jury selection begins exactly one year after Guyger shot and killed Jean. The jury coordinator confirms more than 4,000 jury summons were sent out for the hearing.

    Of the 4,000, 806 people showed up and 410 were administered a questionnaire.

    "I am ordering you not to participate in any media coverage," Kemp tells potential jurors.

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