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(DALLAS NEWS) — After Botham Jean was shot and killed in his Dallas home by an off-duty police officer, attorneys and law enforcement officials said there was a noise complaint targeting his apartment earlier that day.
But it turns out it wasn’t loud music that brought leasing office employees to Jean’s apartment hours before he was shot at the South Side Flats, an attorney for Jean’s family said Wednesday.
Rather, it was the smell of marijuana, and they ultimately determined it wasn’t coming from Jean’s home, attorney Lee Merritt said.
Merritt said Jean, 26, was watching football in his apartment Sept. 6 when he was shot and killed by Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger.
Guyger, 30, told authorities she mistook his apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar. Jean’s fourth-floor apartment was directly above hers at the complex in the Cedars neighborhood, a few blocks from Dallas police headquarters.
Police who searched Jean’s apartment after the shooting seized a small amount of marijuana, which was documented in a search warrant released last week.
It’s unclear to whom the drugs belonged or how they got there.
The day of the shooting, employees from the South Side Flats leasing office knocked on Jean’s door saying there had been a noise complaint, Merritt said.
Jean told his girlfriend what happened and that he was offended by the women’s visit because he’d just gotten home from work at PricewaterhouseCoopers and wasn’t playing music, said a law enforcement official, who isn’t authorized to address the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Like law enforcement, Merritt has previously said there was a noise complaint about Jean’s apartment the day he was shot. But Merritt said Wednesday that he learned that was not true.
Merritt said there hadn’t been a noise complaint against Jean in the two months Guyger had lived in the building.
Asked about noise complaints, a spokeswoman for the South Side Flats corporate ownership said she couldn’t comment on the ongoing investigation.
The Jean family’s attorney also shed new light Wednesday on how he spent his final night.
The night he was killed, Jean planned to watch the Atlanta Falcons play the Philadelphia Eagles, the first game of the NFL season, Merritt said.
“He was a huge football fan and was looking forward to watching the game,” Merritt said.
A thunderstorm passing through Philadelphia delayed the game by 45 minutes, so the game was still on when Guyger arrived at his door about 10 p.m.
Jean was eating cereal, texting a friend and using his laptop around that time, Merritt said. A file from work sat nearby, but it was too dark in the room to work, he added.
The officer was still in uniform when she fired her service weapon twice, striking Jean once in the torso. He was found lying next to the couch, Merritt said.
Merritt said he doesn’t believe it was an accident that Guyger went to Jean’s apartment or that she thought he was a burglar. But, he said, he also doesn’t have a theory of what happened.
He also says Guyger’s account of the shooting has changed, and he points to several documents released in the days after the shooting.
The affidavit that Dallas police used to obtain a search warrant for Jean’s apartment, before authorities interviewed Guyger, says she was confronted “at the door” by an unknown male who she may have thought was an intruder.
The document provides few other details but did list what was taken from his home: a black backpack with police equipment and paperwork, used medical supplies and 10.4 grams of marijuana.
The arrest warrant affidavit, written after authorities interviewed Guyger, says she shot Jean from “across the room.” She told authorities that she had mistakenly parked on the fourth floor instead of the third, and inserted her key into Jean’s door, which was slightly ajar.
No search warrants have been released for Guyger’s home or car. It’s possible she consented to the search, and in that case a warrant would not be required.
Police took Guyger’s blood to test for alcohol and drugs. That test was still pending Wednesday. Jean’s autopsy will include similar tests. Full autopsy results can take six to eight weeks.
Guyger was arrested on a manslaughter charge three days after the shooting when she turned herself in at the Kaufman County Jail. She posted a $300,000 bond within an hour.
Merritt and many local criminal defense attorneys have said they believe Guyger should be charged with murder. Manslaughter is a reckless act under Texas law. A murder charge implies the suspect intentionally and knowingly shot and killed someone. Guyger intended to pull the trigger, the attorneys argue, so a manslaughter charge is not appropriate.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has indicated she is open to pursing a murder charge against Guyger.
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