DALLAS — Jurors on Tuesday found a former Dallas police officer guilty of murder after she mistook her neighbor's apartment for her own last year and shot and killed him.
Jurors found Amber Renee Guyger, 31, guilty of murder in the Sept. 6, 2018, death of Botham Shem "Bo" Jean. They had begun deliberating the case Monday.
Authorities said Guyger was off-duty in September 2018 when she mistakenly walked onto the fourth floor of her apartment complex in downtown Dallas instead of the third floor, where she lived. Jean lived in the apartment directly above Guyger's.
The former officer said she mistook Jean's dark apartment for her own after she found the door ajar on the night of Sept. 6, 2018. Court testimony indicated Jean's door was ajar because the locking mechanism was damaged, so that when Guyger attempted to open the door using her key fob, she pushed the door further open.
She said she believed she was in her apartment and looking at an intruder when she saw Jean's silhouette. Court testimony indicated Jean was sitting on his couch, eating ice cream, when Guyger barged into his home. She said she ordered Jean to show her his hands -- a claim prosecutors disputed -- and that when he instead started to approach her, she feared for her life and fired two bullets.
The Dallas County medical examiner who conducted Jean's autopsy testified last week that the 26-year-old accountant died of a bullet to his chest which struck his heart.
Guyger's shooting of Jean, who was black, further ignited racial tensions throughout Dallas and beyond as Jean's name was added to a growing list of unarmed black men killed by white police officers. Protests and candlelight vigils were held in Jean's name as the public waited to see what, if any, charges Guyger would face in his death.
Prosecutors said Guyger was distracted on the night of the shooting by thoughts of a sexual rendezvous she'd planned with her partner on the force. Guyger's attorneys argued that she was exhausted after a 14-hour shift and made a "tragic, but innocent" mistake when she went into Jean's apartment.
Guyger joined the Dallas Police Department in November 2013. She was dismissed from the force a few weeks after the September 2018 shooting.