(DALLAS MORNING NEWS) — Amber Guyger took the stand to start the fifth day of her murder trial Friday morning — the first witness the defense called after the state rested its case against the fired officer Thursday afternoon.
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Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean in his apartment near downtown Dallas on Sept. 6, 2018. Her defense called the shooting a “tragic, but innocent” mistake and has argued she was reasonable in believing Jean was a burglar when she entered his apartment, a floor above hers.
She hasn’t spoken publicly since the shooting.
The state rested its case Thursday after prosecutors called up Texas Rangers, forensics experts and residents of the South Side Flats apartment where Jean and Guyger lived.
They questioned witnesses about differences between the third and fourth floors of the apartments, trying to make the case that Guyger missed many visual cues that she was on the wrong floor before she killed Jean.
One of Guyger’s attorneys, Robert Rogers, said during opening statements that jurors would hear from Guyger, and the defense wasted no time calling what could be their most important witness.
On Thursday, lead prosecutor Jason Hermus contrasted Guyger’s uniform and gloves from the night of the shooting — clean and free of any blood — with video of the “heroic” efforts of Guyger’s fellow officers who responded to the scene to try to save Jean’s life, frantically performing CPR as he lay bleeding on his apartment floor.
Earlier in the trial, jurors heard from Guyger’s former police partner, with whom she had a sexual relationship, as prosecutors showed the sexually explicit texts the two swapped leading up to the shooting.
Read more: Police treated Amber Guyger special on night of shooting, prosecutor argues
At one point when the jury had been sent out of the courtroom, Texas Ranger David Armstrong — who led the investigation into the shooting — said he did not believe Guyger had committed a crime when she shot Jean.
Armstrong said he believed she acted reasonably in fear for her life, believing Jean was a burglar. He was the law enforcement officer who got a manslaughter arrest warrant for Guyger before she was later indicted on the murder charge she is being tried on.