Amber Guyger to appeal murder conviction in killing of Botham Jean at Tuesday hearing
DALLAS - Attorneys for convicted murderer Amber Guyger will make their case Tuesday to have her conviction overturned for killing Botham Jean.
Guyger, an off-duty Dallas police officer at the time of the deadly shooting, admits she entered Jean's apartment by mistake thinking it was hers and shot Jean thinking he was an intruder.
Guyger’s attorneys are appealing to have the charge reduced and her sentence based on that reduced charge.
Guyger’s defense attorney and an assistant district attorney from the state will each have about 20 minutes to argue their case in front of three judges at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges can ask either attorney questions.
Guyger’s attorney Michael Mowla, who did not respond to FOX 4’s request for comment Monday, is requesting a lesser felony charge of criminally negligent homicide and a new punishment hearing for that charge. It carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Attorney and former Dallas County Prosecutor Russell Wilson is not involved in the Amber Guyger case. Wilson calls Tuesday’s court hearing procedural.
"It starts with the presumption that the jury’s verdict is valid. This isn’t a do-over in the sense the court could change their mind or see it a different way," Wilson said.
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The appeal comes 18 months after a jury convicted Guyger of murder for the 2018 shooting death of the 26-year-old Jean in his own apartment. The jury sentenced Guyger to 10 years in prison in fall 2019.
"The legal standard that Miss Guyer faces is what is really difficult to overcome here. [The conviction is] likely to be affirmed," Wilson said.
According to court documents, Guyger’s attorney says "she had the right to act in deadly force for self-defense and a reasonable belief she was in her own apartment".
"Ii don’t see a lot of wiggle room on those areas. But I can certainly understand why they chose these areas," Wilson said.
Jean’s family was just in Dallas a month ago for the renaming of Lamar Street to Botham Jean Boulevard. It’s the street where Jean lived and where Dallas police headquarters is located.
Jean’s family said that day the honor of the new street name and the legal process will never bring Jean back.
"The majority of appeals are affirmed. I would expect, like the majority of them, this will be affirmed," Wilson said.
The hearing is set for Tuesday at 1 p.m., but no decision will be made at its conclusion.
After the written opinion is released at a later date, either side can then appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
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