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Prosecution’s Case Comes into Focus in Amber Guyger Trial

Prosecutors' case in the Amber Guyger trial came into clearer focus Thursday.EXPAND
Prosecutors' case in the Amber Guyger trial came into clearer focus Thursday.
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Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, prosecutors' case against former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger came into clearer focus: Guyger might not be a cold-blooded murderer, but she was too callous in the seconds and minutes after she killed Botham Jean not to be punished.

DPD crime scene investigator Robyn Carr’s testimony bridged Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions in Dallas County District Judge Tammy Kemp’s courtroom. Carr described the photo she’d taken of Guyger immediately after the shooting, with Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus gently guiding her to identify the Taser and knife that were a part of Guyger’s uniform on the night of Sept. 6, 2018.

Texas Ranger Michael Adcock picked out the Taser and knife, too, in addition to pointing out the pepper spray that Guyger had on her tool belt.

The implication, one that Hermus has been trying to make for days, is that even if one concedes that Guyger’s belief that she was in her apartment, not Jean’s, at the time of the shooting was reasonable, her decision to shoot Jean wasn’t reasonable.

There’s a problem with this argument, according to legal experts. Texas law gives anyone who shoots someone in the shooter’s habitation — or, in this case, what the shooter believes to be his or her habitation — the benefit of the doubt. The shooter is presumed to have acted believing his or her life was in danger. They don’t have to prove it.

"It's absolute," Dallas criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte told the Observer earlier this week. "If she was in her occupied habitation, it's an acquittal."

Adcock also told jurors that Guyger had unused latex gloves on her after the shooting, implying that she hadn't done everything she could have to save Jean's life. Her uniform also did not have any blood on it, Adcock said. In her initial statements to authorities last year, Guyger said she tried to revive Jean, who was dead by the time paramedics arrived. Prosecutors have pushed back against that assertion, both through Adcock’s testimony and by introducing text messages she sent to her police partner in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Thursday afternoon, following some brief evidentiary testimony confirming that Guyger’s gun killed Jean and the date that Jean’s red doormat — which the prosecution has argued Guyger should’ve noticed before the shooting — was collected as evidence, Hermus and the state rested their case.

Scrambling by Guyger’s defense team in the courtroom led to speculation that she might be first to testify, maybe as soon as Thursday afternoon, but Kemp cut the day's proceedings short, about 30 minutes after the prosecution called it quits.

Defense testimony is set to pick up Friday morning.

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