Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean in his own apartment, was found guilty of murder on Tuesday after a short deliberation by the jury. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
As part of the sentencing process, members of the victim's family are allowed to take the stand to give an impact statement on behalf of the victim. Jean’s brother, Brandt, used the opportunity to make a surprising statement. Instead of blaming Guyger for their family’s grief, he took time to forgive her and say that he loves her.
"I hope you go to God with all the guilt, all the bad things you may have done in the past, if you truly are sorry, I know I forgive you and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you. I love you just like anyone else," Brandt said. "And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die, like my brother did, I personally want the best for you. I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you. Because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do. And the best would be give your life to Christ. Again, I love you as a person. And I don’t wish anything bad on you."
What a moment in the courtroom, just now. Botham Jean's brother Brandt took the opportunity to forgive Amber Guyger, tell her to devote her life to Christ, and then asked the judge if he could give Guyger a hug.
The judge, wiping tears from her eyes, allowed the moment to happen pic.twitter.com/rxo6sNOwa7— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) October 2, 2019
Brandt then turned to the judge and asked if it would be possible for him to give Guyger a hug. The judge, with tears in her eyes, granted the request. The two embraced in the center of the courtroom and people could be heard throughout the chamber crying during the incredibly emotional moment.
Guyger killed Jean after coming off a 14-hour shift and entering the wrong apartment in her building. She saw Jean in the living room and shot him in the chest after thinking he was an intruder. She faced up to life in prison after being found guilty of murder. The prosecution was reportedly seeking a penalty of around 28 years, but the jury settled on 10.