On October 1, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of the “mistaken apartment murder” that took the life of neighbor Botham Jean. This verdict came as something of a surprise to some who followed the trial, including our own Heather Barbieri of Barbieri Law Firm.
In a discussion on WBAP Radio’s “Chris Salcedo Show,” Barbieri and host Chris Salcedo stated that the prosecution “missed the mark” with not only their own witnesses but also in the cross-examination of the defense’s first witness, Guyger. Failing to counter the defense’s gains at every turn, Salcedo described the prosecutor himself as “cocky” and “dismissive” in his questioning of Guyger. Barbieri felt that the “snide comments” made by the prosecution actually made Guyger more sympathetic as a witness.
Barbieri’s main concern with the prosecution’s case was that they failed to bring up recklessness and that, in her opinion, this was necessary to make the case for first-degree murder. Given the considerations of “mistake of fact” and self-defense, she felt that defense came out ahead as of Guyger’s testimony.
Salcedo and Barbieri agreed that the defense presented a strong witness in Guyger, who kept a cool head during the prosecution’s examination.
Still, the jury was not swayed from the fact of Botham Jean’s tragic death. Guyger was charged with first-degree murder despite Barbieri’s predictions that she might end up with a lesser charge of, say, manslaughter.
Guyger’s sentencing hearing is now underway. She faces five years to life in prison and is ineligible for probation.