The jury, made up of eight women and four men, in the Amber Guyger murder trial found her guilty of murdering Botham Jean.
Their sentence of 10 years for her crime wasn’t received well by many in the public, but two of the jurors, identified as Jurors 21, a white man, and Juror 34, a Black woman, said they did what they thought the victim would have wanted.
“I didn’t feel like I had any right to speak for [Jean], and he isn’t there to talk for himself, but listening to how people talked about him, I felt like he would forgive her,” an individual identified as Juror 21 told “Good Morning America” Friday (October 4) morning.
Guyger faced a prison sentence of five to 99 years. The Dallas County Assistant District Attorney LaQuinta Long suggested nothing lower than 28 years in honor of what would have been Jean’s 28th birthday just days before the verdict was announced.
“There was a few of us crying, and I really started crying, and I was listening to some people say they agreed with 28,” Juror 21 told “GMA.” “I asked for a lighter sentence.”
Juror 34 echoed that sentiment, “I’m a be honest and true. I was like, ‘I can’t give her 28 years.’”
Guyger shot and killed Jean while he was in his own apartment after she thought she was entering her place. During the trial, she pleaded for forgiveness and said she never intended “to take an innocent person’s life.”
“I think that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Juror 34 said about convicting and sentencing Guyger.
The two jurors said Guyger’s show of remorse did have an impact on their decision, but Jean was the focus of the outcome.
“I didn’t think Botham would want to take harsh vengeance,” Juror 21 said. “I didn’t feel like I had any right to speak for him, and he isn’t there to talk for himself, but listening to how people talked about him, I felt like he would forgive her.”
Juror 21 continued, “They were asking us to take an eye for an eye for Botham and I feel like he isn’t someone who would take an eye for an eye. He would turn the other cheek.”
Juror 34 added, “No matter how many years we would have gave Amber Guyger, it’s not bringing Botham back. It was a mistake, and the 10 years will be enough time for her to get back out there and try to do something better with her life.”
Botham’s younger brother, Brandt, also said his reaction to the verdict and sentencing was inspired by his big brother’s way of life.
“I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want for you,” the 18-year-old told Guyger in the courtroom. “Give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you.”
“There’s no way we could ever know what he would want,” Juror 21 added about Botham. “But I think we all had to make a decision that we could live with and that our conscious could be sound with.”
Photo: Kaufman County Sheriff's Office