District Judge Tammy Kemp made her decision a short time ago, rejecting the request from the attorneys of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who shot and killed PwC accountant Botham Jean last September, to move her murder trial out of Dallas County.
— James Barragán (@James_Barragan) September 16, 2019
In her ruling, Kemp wrote:
The Court on this day considered the Defendant’s Motion to Transfer Venue from Dallas County. The Court after considering the motion, the response of the State, and the evidence presented at the hearings on this motion hereby DENIES the request to transfer venue.
The Clerk of the Court is hereby ordered to send a copy of this order to counsel for the State of Texas, and to counsel for the Defendant.
This is an obvious win for prosecutors, as Dallas County’s population was only 29% white in 2017, the most recent estimate available, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis, and voted primarily Democrat in the past three presidential elections.
Guyger’s attorneys had filed a change of venue motion, saying the “inflammatory” media coverage regarding her case made it impossible for their client to get a fair trial. They recommended the trial be moved to one of six collar counties—Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Kaufman, and Rockwall—that are predominately white and conservative.
Kemp is a Democrat.
Meanwhile, last Friday, the 12-member jury and four alternates were selected in Guyger’s murder trial, which will begin Sept. 23.
Here’s what little we know about the 12 people seated in the Amber Guyger Murder trial jury: 8 heard of the case, 4 had not. 4 alternates heard of case. Of that total, 15 hadn’t formed an opinion. pic.twitter.com/m3s8Q4qPkx
— Larry Collins (@LarryNBC5) September 16, 2019
Jurors will have to decide whether what Guyger did was a crime, and if it was a crime, was it murder? Or maybe manslaughter? Criminally negligent homicide, perhaps? Or she could be found not guilty.
Jury selection began on Sept. 6, the one-year anniversary of when Guyger came home to the South Side Flats apartment complex after a shift just before 10 p.m., while still in uniform, went to Jean’s apartment on the fourth floor believing it was hers (she lived on the third floor one unit directly below Jean), opened the front door which was ajar, saw Jean who was watching a college football game on his couch and thought he was an intruder, and fatally shot the PwC Dallas accountant in the chest.
In the 911 call she made after shooting Jean, Guyger repeatedly told the dispatcher that she thought she had entered her apartment, not Jean’s, and that she was going to lose her job.
Guyger did get fired from her job on Sept. 24, about two weeks after she was arrested and charged with manslaughter in Jean’s death. Guyger had worked for the Dallas Police Department for nearly five years.
After two days of hearing evidence in late November, a Dallas County grand jury on Nov. 30 upgraded Guyger’s charge from manslaughter to murder. She turned herself in to authorities that afternoon and was released on $200,000 bond.