Joshua Brown is a key witness in Amber Guyger’s murder trial for the death of Botham Jean.
While the 28-year-old gave his testimony in front of a jury Tuesday (September 24), he broke down in tears as he recounted the events that took place in the Dallas apartment complex on September 6, 2018, reports NBC.
Judge Tammy Kemp appeared to get teary-eyed herself after the witness and jury left the courtroom. She was clearly emotional from Brown’s testimony about the night 26-year-old Botham Jean was killed, as shown in a video shared on Twitter by NBC 5’s Larry Collins.
Brown was Jean’s neighbor at South Side Flats, an apartment complex the witness lived at for about four months at the time of the murder.
In court Tuesday, he fondly recalled how every morning he could hear Jean singing “gospel or Drake” in his apartment, directly across the hall from Brown’s apartment, NBC reports.
He also told the jury how he met Jean for the first time in person on September 6, 2018, the same day as his death, when both men received a visit from leasing officers about a noise complaint earlier that day.
As Brown detailed what happened when he returned home that evening, he became overcome with emotion, lowering his head and wiping away tears with his T-shirt before one of the prosecuting attorneys called for a brief break.
The young man recalled hearing two muffled voices before two shots were fired quickly. He ran after hearing the shots and eventually returned to his apartment for fear his dog was hurt.
From inside his apartment, he could see Guyger on the phone, crying, and heard her say, “I went into the wrong apartment.”
After the brief courtroom break, Brown returned to the stand, this time with a box of tissues in front of him, and was still visibly distressed and could even be seen shaking as he said the courtroom was really cold.
He continued his testimony, adding how on a few occasions he went on the wrong floor of the apartment complex mistaking it for his floor.
In fact, on one occasion he even went so far as to try putting his key in the apartment door on the floor directly below his before realizing it was the wrong apartment. After Brown and the jury were dismissed, cameras caught Judge Kemp holding back tears.
Guyger, who is white and also lived at the apartment complex, claimed she thought she was entering her apartment when she shot Jean, a Black man.
The deceased lived exactly one floor above Guyger’s unit, NBC reports.
Dallas police Officer Michael Lee’s bodycam video was also shown in court Tuesday (September 24) and seemed to align with Brown’s testimony.
“I thought it was my apartment,” Guyger could be heard saying repeatedly in the video, NBC reports.
She then replied, “Top Left. Top Left,” when arriving officers asked where Jean was shot. His body can be seen lying on the floor in a pool of blood around his left shoulder.
Officer Lee testified that, at the time, Jean still had a pulse but was unresponsive.
The officer also testified, “If you open a door and realize someone’s inside, you have two choices: Presume you can safely reposition, or shoot and figure it out later.”
A 911 call recording of Guyger was also played on Tuesday. Guyger could be heard on the 911 call audio saying, “I thought it was my apartment,” nearly 19 times, reports NBC.
While Guyger, 31, insisted she thought she was entering her apartment, the prosecuting team, which includes lead prosecutor Jason Hermus, says her story doesn’t add up.
For instance, she parked on the wrong floor and didn’t notice the red doormat in front of Jean’s apartment before she tried to open the door with a key that did not work.
Prosecutors also argue Guyger’s claim of being exhausted after a 13½ hour shift also did not add up when investigators found text messages between the accused and fellow Dallas Police Officer Martin Rivera that day, which indicated they were making plans to meet later that night as the two were having a sexual relationship, NBC reports.
The defense team, which includes attorney’s Robert Rogers, Toby Shook, and Michael Mowla, contends Guyger feared for her life when she saw Jean and she shot without the criminal intent of murder.
Jean was an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, who dreamed of one day returning to his native St. Lucia to become prime minister, Dallas News reported.
“He was really treated like an animal,” the deceased’s mother, Allison Jean, said after she first heard the 911 call in April, CNN reports.
The murder trial continues on Wednesday (September 25).
“My hope for the trial is for my son to get justice,” Jean told CNN, adding, “... that the person who inflicted harm on him gets punished for the crime that she committed.”
Guyger, who pleaded not guilty to murder, was fired from the Dallas Police force and, if convicted, faces up to life in prison.