Amber Guyger Indicted For Murder

How To Survive An Encounter With The Police

Amber Guyger has been indicted for murder. Guyger is the Dallas Police Department Officer who killed Botham Jean, her downstairs neighbor, after having broken into his apartment. In the aftermath of Jean’s death, Guyger claimed that she had mistaken Jean’s apartment for her own and that she had assumed Jean was an intruder.

Although local law enforcement had made it very clear that they were going to try to excuse, minimize, and justify Guyger’s behavior – including refusing to name Guyger for several days after the killing, quietly letting her change her storyrefusing to release other information about her, and shamelessly leaking the contents of Jean’s apartment in an attempt – the jury disagreed. It chose to indict her for murder instead of manslaughter, which was what she had been originally, and inexplicably, charged with.

Whether a jury will be willing to find Amber Guyger guilty for Botham Jean’s murder is another, later matter, but for the time being, this jury’s finding represents the briefest glimmer of progress.


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18 thoughts on “Amber Guyger Indicted For Murder

    • This is covered at the end of the linked article. It’s murder (what we’d call second-degree in CA) because she meant to shoot him and inflict grievous bodily harm at the moment she did shoot him.

      Manslaughter doesn’t contemplate any intention to harm, simply negligence.

      At least, that’s my limited understanding.

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      • Oh, my suspicion is that we don’t know half of how awful the story is yet. It got murder instead of manslaughter not because of the “meant to shoot him and inflict grievous bodily harm”. She might have gotten away with that as a cop.

        It’s the stuff we don’t know that will get us to say “WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S ONLY 2ND?!?”

        And I wonder what that stuff is and at what point it comes out during the trial.

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      • I recall digging into it at the time, and you’re absolutely right.

        Manslaughter (in that state) is pure negligence. Performing an action that any reasonable person knows can be lethal is “murder”. The act of aiming a gun and pulling the trigger is sufficient. (Very few people will claim “shooting someone” as “not being potentially lethal”).

        The mitigating factors (such as being confused, drunk, in the wrong apartment, under the mistaken impression there was a burglar, etc) are taken into account at sentencing, rather than charging. So, if convicted, her sentence range will be much lower as (as far as we know) she lacked such things as “premeditation”.

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  1. If a person is charged with murder, can a jury find that they’re guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter?

    Or is a charge of murder when there is ample evidence of manslaughter but not enough for murder, actually a way of getting someone an acquittal?

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    Texas’s felony murder rule, codified in Texas Penal Code § 19.02(b)(3),[1] states that a person commits murder if he “commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.”

    So, if I understand this right, if Guyger is changed with manslaughter, murder is off the table, but if she’s charged with assault, she can also be convicted of felony murder.

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  3. I don’t think that’s applicable, or at least would be a really weird way to handle this. Felony murder is something charged when a person dies/is killed during the commission of a felony but the defendant isn’t the one who pulled the proverbial trigger. The leading case on it in Maryland for example was a situation where the defendant committed a robbery, initiated a car chase, and a bystander was killed by a police bullet in the resulting shootout. Defendant was convicted under the felony murder doctrine despite not being the person who actually shot the victim because the defendant created the situation through commission of a felony.

    Manslaughter is typically a lesser included offense in a regular.p murder charge (at least where I practice).

    Edit- screwed up the reply, this was to Mike Schilling.

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