Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer convicted of fatally shooting her neighbor, Botham Jean, after claiming she’d entered the wrong apartment in September 2018, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The 12-member jury reached a unanimous verdict on the womans sentence around 4 p.m. after deliberating for about 90 minutes, ABC News reports. Guyger had faced between five and 99 years behind bars.
Guyger, who is white, insisted she thought she was in her own apartment when she shot Jean, who is black, on Sept. 6, 2018, saying shebelieved he was an armed intruder.
In considering her sentence, jurors reviewed several racist and violent text messages and social media postings linked to Guyger’s phone and social media accounts.In one such text exchange, Guyger admits she is racist.
During victim impact statements on Wednesday, Jeans father, Bertrum Jean, cried on the witness stand as he remembered his son, saying he missed their weekly phone calls. “Sundays are not a good day for me because I’m not hearing his voice,” he said, according to ABC News. “How could we have lost Botham — such a sweet boy. He tried his best to live a good, honest life. He loved God. He loved everyone. How could this happen to him?”
Jean’s mother also took the stand on Tuesday, sharing the grief she has lived with every day since her son’s death.
But Guyger’s lawyer, Toby Shook, asked the jury to show mercy for his client because, he claimed, she “felt horrible for what she did” and had made a series of horrible mistakes. He also stated that the recent spate of high-profile racially tinged police shootings shouldn’t sway jurors toward issuing a harsher sentence for Guyger, the Dallas Morning News reports. “This event wasn’t planned,” Shook noted. “This event is so unique, you’ll never see it again in the history of the United States.”
During her seven-day trial, Guyger, 31, told jurors during her testimony that she mistakenly walked into 26-year-old Botham Jeans apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, believing it was her own apartment.
“I was scared whoever was inside of my apartment was going to kill me, and I’m sorry,” Guyger testified during the trial as she sobbed, reports The Dallas Morning News. “I have to live with that every single day.”
After Guyger’s sentence was announced, onlookers began chanting, “No justice, no peace,” inside the hallway, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Protesters who believe Guyger’s sentence is inadequate are reportedly planning to convene outside the courthouse this evening.
It was not immediately clear Wednesday if Guyger intends to appeal her conviction or sentence.