Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder on Tuesday morning after a prolonged court case. The Texas-based cop shot and killed civilian Botham Jean in his own home last year. Legal experts say she could face up to a life sentence in prison.
Guyger made headlines last September when she shot and killed 26-year-old Jean. According to a report by CBS News, Guyger claimed that she was simply exhausted on that night, causing her to mistake Jean's apartment for her own, and him for an intruder.
Guyger's trial lasted for a week, and deliberations began on Monday. After less than 24 hours behind closed doors, the jury returned a verdict, finding Guyger guilty of first-degree murder.
Amber Guyger faces up to 99 years in prison after being found guilty of murder in the killing of Botham Jean.
She was originally charged with manslaughter, which carries a 20-year sentence. The charge was upgraded after protests. pic.twitter.com/8hX7C2FZx7— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 1, 2019
According to reports from outlets like CNN and USA Today, this conviction could earn Guyger as much as a life sentence in prison. A tweet from news outlet AJ+ notes that she could face "up to 99 years in prison," stating the maximum length of a life sentence in some states.
As harsh as this may sound, that term will actually spare Guyger some of the more serious penalties allowed within Texas. The state still allows for capital punishment in extreme cases, and also offers "life without parole," where inmates cannot be considered for release under any circumstances. So far, no reports indicate that Guyger will face that.
Instead, there are varying levels of a "life sentence" she may face. Many convicted murderers get an indeterminate sentence, such as "25 to life," in which they are required to serve at least 25 years behind bars before they are considered for parole. Still, the criminal will typically spend the rest of their lives under state supervision of some kind.
So you can break into someone else’s home (b/c you were distracted by porn from your boyfriend), pull a weapon, shoot and kill the home owner, and claim Castle doctrine in SOMEBODY ELSE’s HOUSE?!?! Perversion of the law? How about just plain racist. SMDH https://t.co/1FS67o1GI8— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 1, 2019
In the case of Guyger, there are hints that there may be some leniency. On Monday, Judge Tammy Kemp ruled that the jury would be allowed to consider the "castle doctrine," which allows Texas residents to defend their homes with deadly force. Since Guyger was in Jean's home and not her own, however, this sparked outrage on social media.
Whatever the sentence, Guyger has already expressed remorse. In her testimony, she told jurors: "I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life." However, prosecutors argued that her words were "garbage," and did not explain or excuse her crime.0comments
Jean, an accountant, was reportedly eating ice cream on his couch and watching TV when Guyger walked in. Her apartment was directly below his in their building. His family reportedly celebrated the guilty verdict on Tuesday.
Check back for updates on Guyger's sentencing.