Although former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger showed great remorse for killing Botham Jean “by mistake” and although Jean’s younger brother was elegantly humane when he comforted Guyger after the murder conviction, the convicted cop’s hopes of getting a new trial or going home early from her ten-year bid for killing Botham Jean in 2018 have been shot down.
The 5th Texas Court of Appeals in Dallas ruled last week that Guyger will continue to serve her 10-year prison bid for killing the innocent accountant as he sat in his living room eating ice cream. The court upheld the murder conviction and a panel of three state judges ruled that a Dallas County jury had sufficient evidence to convict Guyger of murder in the fatal shooting of the 26-year-old accountant.
Guyger killed Jean and claimed she thought she was entering her own apartment when she allegedly mistook Jean for an intruder and then shot and killed him. She was sentenced in 2019 to 10 years in prison, but her defense attorneys were attempting to get her murder conviction tossed in a Dallas, Texas appeals court.
According to the Associated Press, Guyger’s appeal hung on the claim that her mistaking Jean’s apartment for her own was reasonable, and therefore, so too was the shooting. Her lawyer asked the appeals court to acquit her of murder or substitute it with a conviction for criminally negligent homicide, which carries a lesser sentence. Dallas County prosecutors countered that the error was not reasonable, that Guyger acknowledged intending to kill Jean, and that “murder is a result-oriented offense.”
The court’s chief justice, Robert D. Burns III, and Justices Lana Myers and Robbie Partida-Kipness concurred with prosecutors, disagreeing that Guyger’s belief that deadly force was needed was reasonable. In a 23-page opinion, the justices also disagreed that the evidence supported a conviction of criminally negligent homicide rather than murder, and they pointed to Guyger’s own testimony that she intended to kill.
“That she was mistaken as to Jean’s status as a resident in his own apartment or a burglar in hers does not change her mental state from intentional or knowing to [be] criminally negligent,” the judges wrote. “We decline to rely on Guyger’s misperception of the circumstances leading to her mistaken beliefs as a basis to reform the jury’s verdict in light of the direct evidence of her intent to kill.”
Defense attorneys could still ask the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest forum for criminal cases, to review the appeals court’s ruling.