Amber Guyger’s lawyers file appeal to convict on lesser charge

The former Dallas, Texas police officer was convicted of murdering Botham Jean in 2019

Amber Guyger appeal Botham Jean
Fired Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger (third from right) arrives for the first day of her murder trial in the 204th District Court at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Monday, September 23, 2019. Guyger shot and killed Botham Jean, an unarmed 26-year-old neighbor in his own apartment last year. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Amber Guyger‘s legal team has filed an appeal to reduce the convicted murderer’s charges to criminally negligent homicide, NBC 5 reported on Friday. Guyger, 32, a former Dallas, Texas police officer was convicted of murdering her upstairs neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Jean, as he sat in his apartment watching TV and eating ice cream.

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Guyger says that she simply had the wrong apartment and confronted Botham with deadly force thinking he was an intruder. Jean died on September 6, 2018, after Guyger entered his home.

Botham Jean and his mother, Allison Jean, in an undated photo together. (Courtesy of the Botham Jean Foundation.)

In a brief filed on Tuesday, Guyger’s lawyers argued for a lesser charge.

“The evidence was legally insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Guyger committed Murder because (1) through mistake, Guyger formed a reasonable belief about a matter of fact—that she entered her apartment and there was an intruder inside—and (2) her mistaken belief negated the culpability for Murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean’s death,” the brief read.

“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.”

Amber Guyger
This Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, booking photo provided by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department shows former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger. Guyger, who shot her black unarmed neighbor Botham Jean to death after, she said, mistaking his apartment for her own, was convicted of murder Tuesday. (Dallas County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Guyger’s defense team wants to present a new oral argument that her crime best fits the definition of criminally negligent homicide. They deem a new hearing can determine her punishment if that argument is successful.

Central to the argument is that the layout of Dallas South Side Flats apartments where both Guyger and Jean lived. They were confusing and that many tenants mistook other apartments for their own.

According to the Dallas Morning News, out of 71 tenants interviewed, 44% said they had found themselves at the wrong apartment on the wrong floor and walked in. 23% of the tenants said they’d actually gone to the wrong door and tried to gain entry.

The apartment doors open with a key fob that doesn’t automatically lock the door once the tenant has gone in. Jean’s door was unlocked the day he died.

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Guyger was convicted of Jean’s murder last year and is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his murder. If convicted of criminally negligent homicide instead, she would face up to two years in a state jail.

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