While on the stand for murder of Botham Jean, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyer broke down in sobs while describing what happened on the evening she fatally shot an innocent man who was enjoying a bowl of ice cream in his own apartment.
It’s the first time the 31-year-old has publically spoken since Jean’s murder on September 6, 2018.
On the fifth day of the trial, Guyger claims she walked into what she thought was her own apartment when she heard “shuffling,” assuming Jean was an intruder. Guyger was off-duty, but still in uniform when she killed the 26-year-old accountant who was wearing shorts while watching television when he was shot. She alleges she saw a “silhouette figure” approaching her, inciting “pure fear” for her life. Guyger yelled, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” before demanding, “Show me your hands” twice.
"I was scared he was going to kill me," Guyger recounted.
While Guyger’s defense attorneys attempted to prove the confusing apartment complex’s layout was to blame for Guyger mistaking units, the prosecution rebutted that point. Lead prosecutor, Jason Hermus, argued how it’s unreasonable that a resident, who has lived in her apartment for two months, would mistake another resident’s unit as their own, in addition to missing obvious indicators along her walk from the garage to Jean’s apartment. One of the clues mentioned was the bright red doormat Jean had in front of his apartment door. Guyger does not have a doormat in front of her door.
She blames being on “autopilot” from working 40 hours within four days as to why she approached the wrong apartment.
When asked to demonstrate how she opened Jean’s door, which was not completely closed or locked due to a malfunction in the door, Guyger began trembling and crying uncontrollably. Judge Tammy Kemp initiated a court recess afterwards.
The Dallas native was asked how she felt after killing the Saint Lucia native at his South Side Flats apartment.
“I feel like a terrible person. I feel like a piece of crap. I hate that I have to live with this,” she stated. “I wish he was the one with the gun and he killed me. I never wanted to take an innocent person's life. I am so sorry.”
She admitted her intent was to kill Jean when she saw him, one of the components for a guilty murder conviction. Murder is defined as an unlawful killing of another human without a valid excuse, especially a malice aforethought.
The District Attorney also called out Guyger’s training and how she was taught to first deescalate any situation where a threat or harm may be present. CNN reports one of her fellow officers testified Guyger should have taken cover and called for backup, according to department protocol.
Guyger, who was on the force for four years, also chose to only give Jean a “little CPR” as he laid on his floor bleeding out. She called 911, while also sending a text to her married lover, Martin Rivera, while on the call.
According to the testimony, Guyger texted Rivera, “I need you ... hurry," and another a minute later confessing, "I f***ed up," one minute later.
The trial continued when Dallas county prosecutors examined the bookbag Guyger was wearing that fateful evening. The bag contained a first aid kit, along with combat gauges designed specifically to stop bleeding. The gauge packet was unopened.
Guyger only admitted to conducting a “sternum rub” on Jean’s upper left chest where she shot him, but stopped when authorities arrived on the scene. Tu Minh Nguygen revealed how Jean was “still alive” when officers began CPR. He died later at the hospital from the gunshot wound.
She admitted to exchanging sexually explicit text messages with Rivera, her married police partner, earlier that day, a point prosecutors showcased to display her moral compass, “Your moral code puts sex off limits, but everything else is fair game?" asked Hermus.
After admitting she sent Rivera nude pictures, but deleted the text threads after the shooting, she expressed her remorse because she knew the relationship “wasn't going to go anywhere.”
"I did do that. I was ashamed that I was in a relationship with him. It's embarrassing.”
But Hermus contended with Guyger’s statement, revealing how she continued to communicate with Rivera. Their messages were “flirtatious” in content and expressed a desire to get intoxicated.
Jurors will decide whether Guyger acted reasonable when she used deadly force inside of Jean’s apartment.
Guyer was fired from the force and arrested on September 23, 17 days after Jean’s death. She was released on a $300,000 bond.
If found guilty of murder, she is facing 5 to 90 years in prison.
Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images