A year ago this evening, PwC Dallas accountant Botham Jean was chillin on a couch in his apartment watching a college football game when the front door to his unit opened, and there stood Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger, still wearing her uniform.
Guyger had just come home to the South Side Flats apartment complex in Dallas, where she and Jean both had apartments, after finishing a shift. The police officer lived in apartment No. 1378; Jean resided exactly one floor above her in apartment No. 1478. But according to authorities, Guyger parked on the fourth floor of the complex’s parking garage instead of the third floor.
Guyger approached the front door of what she thought was her apartment, she told authorities. She tried to use her door key, which had an electronic chip, to open it, but it was already unlocked and slightly ajar. She opened the door and allegedly saw a “large silhouette” in the darkness and thought the person was an intruder.
The cop confronted the person in the apartment, shouted commands that she said the person ignored, and fired her police-issued gun, striking the unarmed Jean once fatally in the chest.
After she shot Jean, Guyger called 911 just before 10 p.m. In the audio recording, you can hear her tell Jean, “Get up, man” before the dispatcher answers the call. In a panicked voice, Guyger told the dispatcher that she was an off-duty officer and she needed EMS and the police sent to apartment No. 1478 at 1210 South Lamar. Guyger then said she “shot a guy, thinking it was my apartment.”
Guyger was originally charged with manslaughter after being arrested on Sept. 9. But a Dallas County grand jury upgraded her charge from manslaughter to murder on Nov. 30. She was fired by the Dallas Police Department in late September.
Now, today, the one-year anniversary of Jean’s death, the process of picking a jury for her murder trial is underway.
The local FOX affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth reported yesterday that 4,000 residents of Dallas County were summoned to appear at the Frank Crowley Courthouse this morning. The local CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth reported today that “hundreds and hundreds of potential jurors” turned out this morning and “the jury call to response in this summons was so overwhelming, there are men and women wrapped around the courtroom.”
District Judge Tammy Kemp and lawyers for both sides will go through answers to a questionnaire potential jurors will be asked to fill out at the courthouse and whittle down the number being considered to serve on the jury, according to reports.
Of the 200 or so potential jurors who are chosen, they’ll be asked to return on Sept. 13 to answer questions from the attorneys in what’s called “voir dire,” or “to seek the truth,” jury consultant Kacy Miller told FOX Dallas-Fort Worth.
Twelve men and women, along with four alternates, will eventually be chosen for the jury.
Now, Guyger’s attorneys say they don’t think she can get a fair trial in Dallas County because of all the “inflammatory” media coverage regarding her case, but we can surmise that the real reason is because Dallas is too black and too liberal; she’s white and Jean was black. Instead, they want her trial moved to one of six collar counties that are predominately white and conservative.
Dallas County prosecutors think Guyger’s attorneys are full of shit and that she can get a fair trial in Dallas County.
Kemp said last month that the change of venue ruling shouldn’t come until after voir dire is finished or it is apparent during the voir dire process “that a fair and impartial jury cannot be selected in Dallas County due the pervasive publicity in this case.”
If Guyger’s trial remains in Dallas County, it is scheduled to begin on Sept. 23.