On Tuesday (April 27), a Texas court is scheduled to hear arguments on overturning the conviction of Amber Guyger, a former Dallas police officer who was sentenced for the murder of Botham Jean in his home in 2018.
According to the Associated Press, Guyger’s lawyer and prosecutors will face off before an appeals court over whether there was sufficient evidence to prove that the 2018 shooting death was murder.
Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder in 2019 by a Dallas County jury. An appeals panel will hand down a decision at an unspecified later date.
In September of 2018, Guyger entered Jean’s apartment in Dallas, Texas and, believing he was an intruder, shot him to death while he was eating ice cream on his couch. During her trial, she testified that she thought she had entered her own apartment in the complex where they both lived, and therefore “had the right to act in deadly force.”
In the new appeal, which was filed in filed last August, Guyger’s attorneys argue that the evidence originally submitted in the case "was legally insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Guyger committed murder."
They claim Guyger was confused about where she was in her apartment complex since both the third and fourth floors where her and Jean’s apartments were located look identical.
"Her mistaken belief negated the culpability for murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean's death, she had the right to act in deadly force in self-defense since her belief that deadly force was immediately necessary was reasonable under the circumstances," the appeal reads.
Guyger had both a taser and pepper spray on her along with the gun she used to kill Jean. Her lawyers argue though that officers are not trained to use the non-lethal weapons “when faced with a deadly situation.”
"Despite the tragic consequences, considering all the evidence — whether admissible or inadmissible ... Guyger acted reasonably," the appeal reads, claiming Guyger "simply missed" the clues she was entering the wrong apartment.
During the trial, Guyger’s attorneys argued that Jean’s death happened due to the “malfunction” on his door and the “absurd design” and incompetent management” of the apartment building.