Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced by a Texas jury to 10 years in prison on Wednesday, after a jury found her guilty of murder for walking into a neighbor’s apartment thinking it was her own and shooting him dead.
The same jury took less than six hours on Tuesday to find Guyger guilty in the Sept. 6, 2018, killing of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old black PwC accountant. His death sparked street protests last year, particularly when prosecutors initially opted to bring the lesser charge of manslaughter against Guyger, 31.
The sentence was less than the 28 years prosecutors had sought. Judge Tammy Kemp said the jury had imposed no fine. Guyger glanced quickly at her family but betrayed no emotion as she was led out of the courtroom.
Jean’s slaying by a white police officer had provoked street protests, particularly after prosecutors initially opted to charge Guyger with manslaughter rather than murder.
Lawyers for the victim’s family said they believed the verdict was the first time a white female police officer had been found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed black man.
“This is a historic case and history provides us with a teachable moment,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot and killed in 2012 by a civilian neighborhood watchman who was later cleared in court.
This case was unlike other recent high-profile killings, such as those of Michael Brown in Missouri and Philando Castile in Minnesota, since Guyger was not on duty or responding to a reported crime when she fired.
(Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman)