Amber Guyger Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Murder of Botham Jean
— Dallas, TX
A Dallas County jury sentenced Wednesday former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who was convicted of the murder of Botham Jean, to 10 years in prison on an emotional day in court that included an embrace of Guyger by Jean's younger brother.
The jury found Guyger guilty of murder on Tuesday, in a case in which she said she mistook Jean's apartment for her own.
Closing statements concluded Wednesday afternoon, as the jury deliberated for less than two hours before they reached a unanimous decision on her sentence.
People outside of the courtroom reacted angrily to the sentence given to Amber Guyger in the death of Botham Jean, believing it was too lenient. But Jean's brother addressed her directly from the witness stand. Brandt Jean told Guyger that his brother would have wanted her to turn her life over to Christ, and that if she can ask God for forgiveness, she will get it. Guyger Trial Prompts Investigations Into Dallas PD Conduct
"I love you as a person. I don't wish anything bad on you," he said to the 31-year-old Guyger, before adding, "I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug?"
The brother of Botham Jean gives his family impact statement directed to Amber Guyger. Brandt Jean said he forgave Guyger and urged her to "embrace Christ." At the end of his statement, Brandt asked if he could hug Guyger which the judge allowed in following emotional moments in the courtroom.
The judge said he could, and Brandt and Guyger stood up, met in front of the bench and embraced while Guyger cried. Judge Tammy Kemp also hugged Guyger before she was led from the courtroom.
Jurors could have sentenced the former officer to up to life in prison or as little as two years, but prosecutors asked them to send her to prison for 28 years, which is how old Botham Jean would have been if he were still alive.
Activists Demand Reform After Guyger Sentencing. Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a former trial judge, called Brandt Jean's embrace of Guyger an
"an amazing act of healing and forgiveness that is rare in today's society ... especially for many of our leaders."
If the 18-year-old brother "can heal and express healing in that fashion, in his words and in his deeds, I would hope that the greater community, not just Dallas but all of Texas and all of the United States, could gain a message from that," he told reporters.
Among them was officer Cathy Odhiambo, who described Guyger as a longtime friend who dreamed of being a police officer when they waited tables at a TGI Fridays. She said the two of them went through the academy and them came through the police ranks together.
"Everybody that knows her knows that Amber is the sweetest person," Odhiambo said.