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Court Date Set For Dallas Cop's Appeal In Botham Jean Killing

Amber Guyger’s lawyers have argued she acted in self-defense and are now seeking an acquittal of her murder charge.

By Dorian Geiger
Ex-Police Officer Amber Guyger Convicted of Murder

The Dallas police officer who fatally shot her Black neighbor in his apartment after apparently mixing it up with her own home is headed back to court next month to appeal her sentence and seek a lesser charge.  

Amber Guyger, 33, shot and killed Botham Jean as he sat on his sofa eating ice cream in 2018. She was convicted of his murder the following year and sentenced to 10 years in prison. 

In August, Guyger’s lawyers filed motions in Texas’ Fifth District Court indicating they intended to appeal the ruling, according to court filings obtained by Oxygen.com. Oral arguments for Guyger’s appeal are now scheduled for April 27, court records show.

Guyger, who lived in the same apartment complex and directly beneath Jean, testified that she mistook which floor she was on after coming home that day from a 14-hour shift. She parked on the wrong level of her parking garage and later entered Jean’s apartment in full uniform, she said. Guyger fired a single, lethal shot into the 26-year-old’s chest.

Prosecutors, however, had initially contended Gugyer willfully ignored blatant signs she had entered the wrong apartment. During her trial, it was revealed the police officer had been exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a former partner mere moments before drawing her gun and firing at Jean.

Guyger’s lawyers have argued she acted in self-defense. They’re seeking an acquittal of the murder charge and now plan to seek a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide, court documents state. Michael Mowla, Guyger’s defense counsel, previously requested an oral hearing due to the volume and complexity of the case file, according to legal briefs. 

Texas prosecutors were quick to dismiss Guyger’s appeal.

“[Guyger] walked into an apartment that wasn’t hers, shot a man who wasn’t a threat, got defensive instructions she wasn’t entitled to, and received a verdict she didn’t want,” Assistant District Attorney Douglas R. Gladden wrote in a separate brief in September, also obtained Oxygen.com. “Now she asks this Court to acquit her or find her guilty of a lesser offense. Because intentionally killing a man in his own apartment is murder, the State of Texas submits that Appellant’s conviction is just fine, and this Court should affirm it.”

Jean’s family previously condemned Guyger’s appeal efforts.

"After admitting her crime and asking Botham Jean's family for mercy — Guyger's actions in filing this appeal reflect someone who is not repentant but instead was hoping to play on the families sympathies at the time that they were most vulnerable,” Lee Merritt, the family’s lawyer, told CNN in a statement.

Michael Mowla, Guyger’s attorney, didn’t’ immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Wednesday.

A three-justice panel will hear the case. Trial proceedings will be live-streamed

Guyger’s appeal comes amid a countrywide reckoning with racial justice as the anniversary of George Floyd’s death in May 2020 approaches.

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