In an effort to ensure a fair trial for ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger, who shot and killed unarmed Botham Jean in his home, a judge on Tuesday blocked attorneys from publicly sharing details about the murder case, The Dallas News reports.
State District Judge Tammy Kemp met with Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus and Guyger’s attorneys, Robert Rogers and Toby Shook, to hand down the gag order.
The judge made the decision “as a result of statements made to, and published by, the press a serious and imminent threat to the constitutional right of the defendant herein to a fair trial exists,” according to NBC 5.
Guyger, 30, was present at the courthouse, but no official proceedings took place. The attorneys met in a closed meeting in the judge’s chambers.
Also on hand in the courtroom, just to keep a close eye on the case, was Jean’s family attorney Daryl K. Washington, to be the “eyes and ears” for Jean’s family.
“They’re very anxious right now, not being here in the states,” Washington said. “They want to know what’s going on with the entire process, and my job is to keep them abreast.”
Guyger under fire
Last November, a Texas grand jury indicted Guyger for murder in Jean’s death. She reportedly shot and killed him after getting off on the wrong floor and entering the wrong apartment. She claims she shot Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, thinking he was an intruder in her apartment.
Guyger, who was a Dallas police officer at the time of the shooting, was arrested and charged with manslaughter three days later. She was also eventually fired.
The Death of Botham Jean
An arrest affidavit prepared by a Texas Ranger provided a confusing narrative of what happened that night based almost entirely on the officer’s account.
Jean’s family has voiced concern over Guyger’s version of the story, after she said she thought she was entering her own apartment and gave conflicting accounts of how she came to gain entry.
Guyger told investigators that she had just ended a 15-hour shift when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.
When she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, the affidavit said. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to the officer’s account.
However, the lock was electronic and according to the outlet, data was seized by the Dallas County district attorney’s office which could dispute that claim.
Guyger told police that she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, which ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.
No information has been released about the lock and now the attorneys are under lock and key and can’t discuss details about the case as a result of the gag order.