As demand grows for the white cop who killed Botham Jean to be charged with murder instead of manslaughter, the Dallas lawyer prosecuting the case says that is a possibility.
District Attorney Faith Johnson, who is prosecuting Amber Guyger, told NBC News that there is a chance a murder charge will be filed when the case is presented before a grand jury.
"That very well may be an option," Johnson said.
"The grand jury is going to have a full picture of what happened in this situation," she added.
Legal experts and former judges who have offered opinions about the case believe Guyger's current manslaughter charge is not appropriate considering her statement of how the shooting occurred.
"She intended to kill the burglar," defense attorney Brad Lollar told Dallas Morning News. "Her thought process was, 'I'm going to shoot the bad guy.'"
According to the Texas penal code, "a person commits a [manslaughter] offense if he recklessly causes the death of an individual."
However, defense attorney Brook Busbee said the manslaughter charge doesn't match the details of Guyger's arrest warrant affidavit.
"We don't know all the facts, but the facts in the affidavit don't appear to match the manslaughter charge, because the act of shooting him wasn't reckless," Busbee said. "According to the affidavit, in her mind, it was intentional."
While the sentencing for a murder charge could be greater than that of manslaughter, some caution that the charge could also make it easier for Guyger to walk away freely.
If Guyger is actually charged with murder, prosecutors will have to prove she had no reason to fire her weapon. And while that seems obvious, Guyger's team could always argue that she made a "mistake of fact."
Defense attorneys can say Guyger mistook Jean's home as her own and was defending her property when felt inclined to act in self-defense.
Either way, Johnson is prepared to "get to the bottom of everything."
"We will make certain that justice is done in this case," she told the Dallas Morning News. "The grand jury will be able to look at all aspects of this case, which will include anything from murder, manslaughter or what have you."
(Photo: Kaufman County Jail)
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