Former police officer Amber Guyger is in the process of appealing the guilty verdict in the 2018 murder of Botham Jean. Her appeals case was heard back in April of this year by a three-judge panel, with a decision expected to come down at a later date.
According to CBS Dallas, attorneys representing Guyger first filed an appeal of their client’s 10-year prison sentence back in August of 2020, arguing that Guyger mistook Jean’s apartment for her own and therefore “had the right to act in deadly force.”
On September 6, 2018, Guyger entered Jean’s apartment at the complex where they both live and fatally shot him as he sat on his couch eating ice cream. Guyger maintains she believed she entered her own apartment and that Jean was a burglar. Guyger was found guilty in October of 2019 and convicted of murder after initial charges brought against the former officer were upgraded from manslaughter to murder.
Guyger’s lawyers argue there was insufficient evidence to uphold the guilty verdict and that “her mistaken belief negated the culpability for murder because although she intentionally and knowingly cause Jean’s death she had the right to act in deadly force in self-defense since her belief that deadly force was immediately necessary was reasonable under the circumstances.”
Jean’s family attorney, S. Lee Merritt released a statement last August in response to Guyger’s appeal, expressing their disappointment: “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.”
If the three-judge panel rules in favor of Guyger, she could get a significantly reduced sentence.