DALLAS – Opening statements were delivered Monday in the murder trial of former Dallas, Texas police officer Amber Guyger.
Guyger claims she mistakenly entered the wrong apartment last September and fatally shot neighbor Botham Jean, believing he was an intruder.
She told investigators she only realized she wasn’t in her own home after she’d already called 911.
Guyger was originally charged with manslaughter, but a grand jury later indicted her on a more serious murder charge after hearing evidence surrounding the shooting.
Dallas County assistant district attorney on Jason Hermus on Monday called Jean “a wonderful, decent, kind man” and said that he was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream when Guyger entered his apartment.
Hermus told jurors that Guyger had worked a long day but that it was primarily office work. He suggested that Guyger became upset and distracted by a phone call with a colleague with whom she had been romantically involved.
He said there is no evidence that Jean ever posed a threat to Guyger.
Her attorney, Robert Rogers, said the identical look of the apartment complex from floor to floor often led to confusion among tenants. The defense attorney said dozens of people living at the complex reported regularly parking on the wrong floor or attempting to enter the wrong apartment.
Rogers says the floors of the parking garage were not clearly marked so it was understandable when Guyger, tired from a long shift, in September 2018 pushed open a door and believed an intruder was inside.
The trial will resume Tuesday morning. The jury will have to decide whether Guyger committed murder, a lesser offense such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or no crime at all.
Story info via NBC 5 DFW and the Associated Press