Amber Guyger’s tearful testimony in which she apologized for shooting dead her black neighbor after entering his apartment allegedly thinking it was her own was ‘garbage’ and ‘absurd’, according to prosecutors.
The 31-year-old is on trial after she shot dead 26-year-old Botham Jean in September last year when she was off-duty from the Dallas Police Department.
During closing arguments on Monday, Assistant District Attorney Jason Fine said Guyger was an ‘intruder’ in Jean’s apartment.
He said Guyger should have known she was in the wrong apartment after she claimed she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own following a 13.5 hour shift.
The prosecutor scrunched up a copy of Guyger’s testimony in front of jurors and described her claims as ‘absurd’ and garbage’.
Amber Guyger, a fired Dallas police officer, is on trial for fatally shooting her 26-year-old Botham Jean last year after she said she mistakenly entered his apartment thinking it was her own
‘It’s not a mistake. It’s a series of unreasonable decisions,’ Fine said, adding that Guyger wasn’t thinking like a ‘reasonable person’ that day.
In her testimony on Friday, Guyger broke down in tears when she took to the stand and apologized for shooting dead her neighbor.
One of Guyger’s defense attorneys argued in his closing arguments that her belief she was killing an intruder in her home was entirely reasonable.
Defense attorney Toby Shook told jurors that the shooting was a result of ‘a series of horrible mistakes’.
Shook said Guyger opened fire after making a ‘split-second decision’.
The defense attorney noted that other residents in the complex had made the same mistake and gone to the wrong apartment.
Guyger’s testimony on Friday marked the first time the public heard directly from her since Jean’s killing.
She reenacted the moment she arrived at the wrong apartment thinking it was her own during her testimony.
Guyger broke down in tears when she took to the stand during the trial and apologized for shooting dead her neighbor
With her heavy service vest, lunch bag, and her backpack in her left arm, Guyger showed jurors how she entered the apartment the night of the shooting (right). Under cross examination, prosecutor Jason Hermus asked Guyger to aim the gun at him like she did the night of the shooting during her murder trial (left)
Photos taken by a crime scene analyst were shown during Guyger’s murder trial on Wednesday. The analyst testified that this photo showed Guyger had a Taser and pepper spray strapped to her utility belt when she shot dead Jean
She said she put her key in the apartment lock and the door opened because it hadn’t been fully closed.
Guyger said she immediately drew her gun because she thought someone was in her home. She testified that she was ‘scared to death’ when she opened the door fully and saw a silhouetted figure standing in the darkness inside.
She told the jury she shouted at Jean: ‘Let me see your hands, let me see your hands’.
Guyger explained she couldn’t see his hands and that he began coming toward her at a ‘fast-paced’ walk, yelling ‘hey, hey, hey’ in an ‘aggressive voice’.
She said that is when she fired her gun twice.
‘I was scared he was going to kill me,’ she said.
She said she intended to kill him when she pulled the trigger because that’s what she had been trained to do as a police officer.
During her testimony, she recounted police training that focused on learning to control suspects and the importance of seeing their hands, which kicked in as she spotted Jean.
When asked how she felt about killing an innocent man, she said through tears: ‘No police officer ever would want to hurt an innocent person.
The interior of Jean’s apartment is seen in this photo taken after the shooting on September 6
Guyger was shown (left) in police body camera footage (played to the jury during her murder trial on Tuesday) as first responders arrived to the Dallas apartment where she shot her neighbor Botham Jean last year
Guyger was captured on an officer’s body cam standing in the corridor outside on her phone as CPR was being given to Jean inside, according to prosecutors
‘I feel like a terrible person. I feel like a piece of cr**. I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life. I feel like I don’t deserve the chance to be with my family and friends.
‘I wish he was the one with the gun and had killed me. I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I am so sorry. This is not about hate, it’s about being scared that night.’
Guyger was off duty but still in uniform when she shot Jean in his home on the evening of September 6, 2018.
She told investigators that after a 13.5 hour shift she parked on the fourth floor of her apartment complex’s garage – rather than the third floor where she lived – and found the apartment’s door ajar.
Believing she was at her own apartment and seeing a silhouette of a figure who didn’t respond to verbal commands, Guyger said she fired two shots at Jean that killed him.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Guyger should have noticed she was on the wrong floor, while her defense attorneys said she fired in self-defense based on the mistaken belief that Jean was a burglar.