Closing arguments set to begin in Amber Guyger’s murder trial for killing Botham Jean

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Closing arguments set to begin in Amber Guyger’s murder trial for killing Botham Jean
Amber Guyger shot Botham Jean in his apartment in The Cedars neighborhood south of downtown Dallas.
Amber Guyger shot Botham Jean in his apartment in The Cedars neighborhood south of downtown Dallas.

(DALLAS MORNING NEWS) — The defense rested its case Monday in the murder trial of former police officer Amber Guyger for killing Botham Jean in his Dallas apartment last year, setting the stage for each side to present closing arguments.

Guyger, 31, has said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own the night of Sept. 6, 2018, and fatally shot 26-year-old Jean thinking he was a burglar.

Throughout the trial, her defense has presented the shooting as a “tragic, but innocent” mistake. The prosecution has questioned how Guyger missed visual cues that would have told her she was in the wrong apartment and has said Guyger didn’t provide proper first aid to Jean after she shot him.

Court was in session but abbreviated on Saturday — jurors only heard five minutes of testimony before recessing for the day.

Prosecutors and Guyger’s defense spent much of the morning in a hearing outside the jury’s presence in which the defense tried to certify Craig Miller, a former Dallas ISD chief and former Dallas deputy chief, as an expert witness.

The defense wanted jurors to hear testimony from Miller and Texas Ranger David Armstrong about their beliefs that Guyger was reasonable in shooting Jean based on her belief that he was an intruder in her apartment.

But state District Judge Tammy Kemp ruled that neither of them could offer testimony on Guyger’s “reasonableness” the night of the shooting. That will be left up to each juror.

After the prosecution rested its case Thursday, Guyger was her defense team’s first witness when she took the stand Friday morning.

She tearfully recounted the night of Sept. 6, 2018, which she said she would always regret. She told jurors she shot Jean because she was afraid.

“I was scared whoever was inside of my apartment was going to kill me, and I’m sorry,” Guyger said through tears, her voice shaking. “I have to live with that every single day.”

During cross-examination, prosecutor Jason Hermus grilled the former police officer, asking why she didn’t call for backup when she heard “shuffling” inside what she thought was her apartment.

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