Dallas County

Jean's Sister, Guyger's Former Partner Take Stand on Day 1

Guyger faces between five and 99 years in prison, if convicted

Live Blog/Daily Recaps:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9

Day 1 of the Amber Guyger murder trial began with a string of motions that delayed opening statements until after lunch.

Judge Tammy Kemp called a brief recess after she learned that Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot had apparently broken her gag order and done an interview with a Dallas TV station. Kemp personally questioned the jurors, all of whom swore under oath they had not seen it.

In opening statements, both the prosecution and defense laid out the framework of the arguments they planned to make during the trial.

"Amber Guyger made unreasonable errors, unreasonable choices, errors that only she could have stopped from happening again and again. For her errors, her omissions, Botham paid the ultimate price," Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus said.

The defense countered by arguing Guyger "reasonably believed she was in her apartment."

"They are holding Amber Guyger to an impossible standard," defense attorney Robert Rogers said.

Dallas-area religious leaders and the Next Generation Action Network held two separate gatherings outside the Frank Crowley Courts building in Dallas, Texas on the first day of Amber Guyger's murder trial.

Among the areas where the two sides conflicted the most were how Jean behaved when Guyger entered his apartment. Prosecutors said ballistic evidence showed Jean was either getting up or "cowering" when Guyger shot twice, hitting him once in the heart.

Guyger's defense team said Jean began to yell and moved toward Guyger, which led her to open fire thinking he was an intruder.

Jean's sister, Alissa Findley, also testified Monday, and recalled her final conversations with her brother.

"He was happy his birthday was coming up," Findley said.

Guyger's former Dallas police partner Martin Rivera, with whom she had an on-and-off romantic relationship, testified as well. The two messaged each other the day Jean was shot, including in the moments immediately after the fatal shot was fired. Prosecutors asked Rivera what she should have been doing.

“Should you be giving 100% of attention to the person dying in front of you?" prosecutors asked Rivera.

"Yes, you should," he said.

"Should you be sending text messages," Prosecutors asked.

"No," Rivera replied.

Pretrial Motions

Judge Tammy Kemp grows visibly frustrated after the defense asks for a mistrial due to a possible violation of her gag order by Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot. Kemp ruled against the mistrial.

Arraignment, 'Not Guilty'

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered a plea of not guilty on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.

Opening Statements

Dallas County Prosecutor Jason Hermus, the Administrative Chief Prosecutor of Division C of the Dallas County Criminal District Attorney's Office, presents the opening statement in the state's case against former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger.
Defense attorney Robert Rogers, the lead attorney on Amber Guyger's defense team, presents the defense's opening statement.

Monday's Testimony

Alissa Findley, the sister of Botham Jean, testified Monday saying she hoped her baby brother would join her in New York after college so that she could keep him close, but that he had career plans and wanted to go to Dallas first. She said she still hasn't accepted his death, calls his phone on occasion and misses him "every single day."
Amber Guyger's former partner, Martin Rivera, took the stand on Day 1 of Guyger's murder trial. Guyger is the former Dallas police officer accused of fatally shooting the 26-year-old Jean in his South Side apartment last year.

Full Amber Guyger Timeline

Amber Guyger Murder Trial Attorneys

Learn more about the prosecutors and defense attorneys

Source/Credits: Larry Collins, Jack Highberger, NBC 5, Attorney Firms

Contact Us