Former Cop Amber Guyger Declares Botham Jean's Home Her Own Castle
A man's home is his castle -- unless a white woman cop gets lost and declares it's hers. Amber Guyger colonized Botham Jean's apartment last year, and now our Lady Columbus wants to save her ass by invoking the so-called Castle Doctrine -- Texas's version of "stand your ground," which permits someone to use lethal force against an intruder in their own home. But as Dallas County Assistant District attorney Jason Fine said yesterday, "Let's not bury the lede here": It wasn't Guyger's apartment. She might've believed so, but the dead man's lease said otherwise.
FINE: You can believe all kinds of crazy stuff. I could believe I'm in Florida right now, doesn't mean I'm reasonable. It's not what the defendant thinks (that determines what's reasonable and what isn't). Every defendant thinks they're justified.
The jury began deliberations Monday in what the news called the "apartment-mixup murder case," like it's a common Scooby Doo episode. Fine and lead prosecutor Jason Hermus systematically dismantled Guyger's bogus defense and made a compelling case for murder. The former -- thank God -- police officer testified on Friday and unleashed her weapons-grade tears. She should've thanked the Academy afterward.
GUYGER: I hate that I have to live with this.
That is a bummer. She definitely got the raw end of the deal. She was so devastated that just two days after killing Jean -- a certified human being -- she was back to sexting with her former partner, Martin Rivera. She later deleted the texts (i.e. "destroyed evidence") because she felt "bad" about sending them to a married man. She makes a lot of bad decisions. She's like Carrie Bradshaw from "Sex and the City" but she doesn't have hot shoes. She just kills black men.
GUYGER: I wish he was the one with the gun and killed me.
She doesn't "wish" this, and no one is stupid enough to believe her. This is her slimy way of convincing the jury that Jean posed a threat while sitting on his own couch in his shorts and eating ice cream. She claimed Jean was near the door, but Fine pointed out that there was a baseball bat near the door. If Jean was there and heard an intruder entering his home, he would've used it. Fine also went over the physical evidence that concluded Jean was likely shot while standing up. This is consistent with witnesses who heard Jean saying, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" as Guyger entered. Hermus later stressed that no one in the building heard Guyger shout "loud commands," as she claimed. Her lawyers aren't Lionel Hutz. If there was a witness who could've confirmed her story they would've been called to testify.
The state presents its closing arguments in the Amber Guyger murder trialwww.youtube.com
Fine argued that Guyger is flat-out lying when she says she "couldn't see" Jean's hands and thus feared for her life. Jean didn't have pockets. His hands would've been visible. He was only armed with ice cream and the far more lethal black body. She claimed he was advancing toward her but that's just more bullshit. She shot him through the heart within seconds of entering his apartment.
Guyger said during her pity party on Friday: "I never want anybody to ever have to go through or even imagine what I had to go through that night." Fine read these words off a sheet of paper on Monday. Then he crumpled up the paper and tossed it away: "That is garbage. Most of what she said is garbage." Fine's my new best friend. He went full Jack McCoy on her ass.
The defense argued that Guyger made a horrible mistake, but the prosecution counters that her choices were both deliberate and stupid. The only person who behaved reasonably last September was Botham Jean. Fine shattered the "mistake of fact" defense. He used a classic hypothetical to explain a true "mistake of fact": Someone goes deer hunting and shoots a person who is literally dressed like a deer. Fine walked the jury through the multiple instances where Guyger should've realized she was on the wrong floor and trying to enter the wrong apartment. The most damning example was present in the court room: Jean's bright red welcome mat that Guyger would've stood on while trying to open the door. There was a witness who'd made a similar mistake but quickly realized she was at the wrong apartment -- without the benefit of Guyger's stellar police training and without ultimately killing someone.
The state finishes closing arguments in the Amber Guyger murder trialwww.youtube.com
Perhaps what will prove Guyger's undoing is her arrogant insistence that she was just "thinking like a police officer." An actual competent cop testified that he wouldn't have entered his home if he knew an intruder was inside. Guyger had her police radio and could've called for backup. The "intruder" was contained. She was safe in the hallway. She had options. Jean had none once Guyger decided to kill him, and the prosecution contends she made that decision before entering Jean's apartment. She was going to execute whoever was inside "commando" style. That demonstrates an appalling lack of respect for human life. She lives in an apartment building and someone could've been performing routine maintenance. Yes, it was late, but a pipe could've burst or any other number of scenarios far more reasonable than burglary without any evidence of forced entry. Guyger tried to explain this away with the weakass excuse that she'd had trouble getting her door to lock completely. I know white women. White women are friends of mine. White women speak to managers and lodge complaints. They don't accept a faulty lock on their doors.
Hermus and especially Fine were pissed off during their closing arguments. They repeatedly referred to Botham Jean by name so the jury wouldn't forget the true victim. Hermus held up a large photo of Jean because that's what Guyger reduced him to -- a cardboard cutout that can't shed tears on the stand or share the fear he felt when he was brutally killed in his own home. The defense claims there are "no winners" in this case. However, Guyger is hoping she'll win her freedom and the chance to return to her life with no more than a "whoops, my bad."
Chief Justice Roger Taney concluded in 1857's Dred Scott case that black people were "of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." It's 162 years later, and Guyger is trying to argue that Jean had no rights that a white woman "was bound to respect." She must be held accountable.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."