Jury selection in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger has ended. The trial will go forward in Dallas County, despite the defense’s request for a change of venue. Guyger is accused of killing Botham Jean in his own apartment.
Guyger is white. Jean was black. Both lived in the same apartment building, but on different floors. The shooting occurred when Guyger came home after completing a double shift. She was in uniform and entered Jean’s dark apartment. She has said she believed she was entering her own apartment.
Wade Goodwyn, a National Desk correspondent for NPR, is covering Guyger’s trial, and says Guyger claims she shot Jean in self-defense.
“The defense is going to argue something called a mistake of fact, which is that Amber Guyger got into this apartment, she thought she saw a person who was an intruder, and she simply defended herself,” Goodwyn says.
Guyger’s defense team will argue that if she is convicted of a crime, it should be manslaughter, not murder, Goodwyn says.
On the other hand, prosecutors will likely argue that Guyger “was an off-duty police officer who pulled her service revolver and shot to kill Botham Jean, and did,” he says. “That’s murder.”
Jury selection, and the decision about where to hold Guyger’s trial, were controversial. Goodwyn says Guyger’s defense team believes extensive pretrial publicity will make it difficult for the former officer to receive a fair trial.
“They suggested a number of Dallas suburbs, all of which were whiter and more conservative,” Goodwyn says.
But Goodwyn says choosing those suburbs “kind of undermines their argument” because residents of those Dallas suburbs have access to the same media outlets the city’s residents do.
A pool of 16 jurors has been chosen in Dallas.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.