The murder trial for Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who was charged in the 2018 shooting death of PwC Associate Botham Jean, will begin on Aug. 12, according to published reports.
Guyger and her attorneys made a brief appearance in court on March 18 for an “announcement setting,” but a gag order issued by State District Judge Tammy Kemp in January prevents the attorneys involved in the criminal case and Guyger from commenting publicly.
An announcement setting provides defense attorneys an opportunity to meet with prosecutors to discuss evidence in the case, possible plea deals, and sentence recommendations, according to the Dallas Morning News. It also allows the judge to hold attorneys and defendants who are free on bond, like Guyger, accountable, Becky Dodds, a former Dallas prosecutor, told the Dallas Morning News.
But one interesting thing did come out of Monday’s court appearance:
Kemp signed a subpoena requested by prosecutors for records related to any cruises Guyger took on Royal Caribbean between Sept. 23 to March 4.
Hmmm, prosecutors must know something. If Guyger did go on a cruise right after she shot and killed Jean, even if it’s a last hurrah before she potentially spends the rest of her life behind bars, it’s not a good look.
Another problem is she’s not allowed to leave the country, as I mentioned last November:
The state district judge who has been assigned the case ordered Guyger to surrender her passport on Friday and not to travel outside the state without approval.
Again, not a good look.
Jean, a 26-year-old risk assurance associate in PwC’s Dallas office, was fatally shot in his South Side Flats apartment on Sept. 6 by Guyger, who had just gotten off shift and told authorities that she mistook his apartment for hers. She believed her apartment was being burglarized. Guyger lived in an apartment one floor directly below Jean’s apartment.
Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter on Sept. 9, three days after she killed Jean. She was released at that time on $300,000 bond.
The Dallas Police Department fired Guyger on Sept. 24 for engaging in adverse conduct. She had worked at the 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.
While Guyger’s trial date was set for Aug. 12, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Guyger’s attorneys are expected to request a change of venue, so the trial date could change.