It’s day 3 of the Amber Guyger murder trial and a Jurors will likely get a complete explanation of the crime scene including where the shots were fired from and the placement of Jean and Guyger in the room.
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger reasonably thought she was shooting an intruder in her apartment when shot 26-year-old Botham Jean, the lead investigator of the case said Wednesday.
Guyger, 31, is charged with murder in the death of her upstairs neighbor. She was off duty but still in uniform when she mistakenly went to Jean’s apartment instead of her own. She was able to get inside because the door was unlocked and not properly latched.
Defense lawyers shot Jean in self-defense believing he was an intruder advancing on her when she entered the apartment.
Texas Ranger David Armstrong announced that he doesn’t think Guyger committed any crime, including murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.
“I believe that she did perceive him as a deadly threat,” Armstrong said. “I don’t believe it was reckless or criminally negligent based on the totality of the investigation.”
Officer Michael Lee, one of the first officers on the scene of the September 2018 shooting, described video captured on his body-worn camera that night in Amber Guyger’s murder trial. He explained it showed him and his partner, Kenan Blair, encountering Guyger down the hall from Jean’s apartment.
As Blair walked into the apartment with Guyger, she repeated an assertion she uttered 19 times during her 911 call: “I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment.”
Jean’s mother, sister, and other family members left the courtroom before the video was played.
The jury was outside theAmber Guyger murder trial when defense attorney Robert Rogers questioned Armstrong, who was called to the witness stand by prosecutors. Armstrong testified briefly Tuesday afternoon and was still on the stand when court resumed Wednesday.
Rogers wanted to question Armstrong about his opinions on whether Guyger reasonably believed she was in her own apartment and where he believed Jean was standing when he was shot.
Jean had been sitting on his couch eating vanilla ice cream topped with crumbled cookies watching TV moments before the shot. Prosecutors allege Jean was barely getting up from the couch when Guyger walked into his home and shot him.
She was fatigued after working 40 hours in four days, and was on “autopilot,” defense attorney Robert Rogers told jurors Monday. She was not paying attention when she parked in the garage, where the numbers are not clearly marked on the floors, he said.
“Was that evil of her to do? Was that evil of her not to count the floors? Was that just a reasonable reaction to ‘Oh my gosh I found a good spot?’” Rogers said.
The prosecution, however, says Guyger, a five-year veteran of the force, missed numerous signs she was on the wrong floor and in the wrong apartment — including a red doormat, a neighbor’s planter, a missing table and clutter on the kitchen counter — then failed to adequately try to save Jean after shooting him.
Lee, a six-year veteran who was in the same police academy class with Guyger and knew her, described his counterpart as upset and “very emotional” when he arrived.
The 26-year-old accountant was on the living room floor, alive but unresponsive when police arrived, the bodycam footage showed.
Blair immediately began performing CPR as Lee put on blue gloves, trying to stanch the blood coming from his chest wound. Lee took over efforts to resuscitate Jean later in the video.
Lee testified that despite officers’ efforts, Jean didn’t open his eyes or otherwise communicate with first responders.
Senior Cpl. Dale Richardson testified that he was told during the investigation that Guyger’s set of keys were found dangling from Jean’s door.
He said that when tested, Guyger’s key made light on the lock blink red and it would not operate, while Jean’s key made the lock blink green and make a whirring sound that indicated it was operating.
Guyger’s defense has said she was able to enter the apartment because the door wasn’t locked.