Amber Guyger's Lawyers File Paperwork For Potential Appeal
|thenorthstar||Oct 25, 2019|
The attorneys representing Amber Guyger, the former police officer who was convicted of murdering her neighbor Botham Jean in his apartment, have filed an appeal to her sentence.
Robert Rodgers, one of Guyger’s attorneys, told KXAS-TV that Guyger’s team of lawyers plan to overturn Guyger’s murder conviction and 10-year sentence. He told CNN that they needed to file the appeal before the window of eligibility closed under Texas law. The appeal was reportedly filed in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals earlier on October 16 by Michael Mowla, another one of Guyger’s attorneys, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
"You have 30 days by statute to file a notice or intent to appeal, so the lawyer that's handling the appeal filed that just to preserve the right," Rodgers told CNN. "You have to do that."
The Texas appellate rules state defendants are required to file an appeal “within 30 days after the day sentence is imposed or suspended in open court, or after the day the trial court enters an appealable order; or within 90 days after the day sentence is imposed or suspended in open court if the defendant timely files a motion for new trial,” according to txcourts.gov.
Guyger, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her neighbor, Botham Jean, 26, on October 1. The former Dallas Police officer, who lived a floor below Jean, was found guilty of murdering the 26-year-old on September 6, 2018 in his apartment in Dallas. During the trial, Guyger testified that she entered Jean’s apartment after a 14-hour shift that night thinking it was her own. She fatally shot him after mistaking him for a burglar.
Guyger was booked into Dallas County Jail following the verdict, becoming the first Dallas police officer to be convicted of murder since the 1970s, The Dallas Morning News previously reported. Following the conviction, Jean’s mother celebrated the conviction outside of the courtroom.
“God is good. Trust him,” Allison Jean previously told the publication when she walked out of the court.
Days after Guyger’s conviction, a key witness who testified against her was fatally shot in his apartment complex. The Dallas Police Department (DPD) said in a previous statement Joshua Brown, Jean’s neighbor, was killed on October 4.
Authorities said they were responding to a shooting call at ATERA apartments in Dallas and found Brown, 28, lying on the ground of his apartment building’s parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body. Police also said several witnesses had reported seeing “a sliver four-door sedan leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.”
Brown, who lived across the hall from Jean, was a key witness during the murder trial because of his proximity to the shooting. During his testimony, Brown told the jury that he had met Jean the day he was killed, CNN previously reported. The night Jean was murdered, Brown said he was down the hall when he heard two people who sounded like they were meeting by “surprise,” which was followed by gunshots. After hearing the gunshots, Brown said he saw Guyger come out into the hallway from Jean’s apartment. She was on the phone “crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she came into the wrong apartment,” Brown testified.
Guyger said during the trial that she shouted commands to Jean before shooting him, but Brown never heard her give those orders, Jean’s family attorney, Lee Merritt, previously wrote on Facebook.
On October 8, two suspects were arrested in Brown’s death. Deputy Police Chief Avery Moore previously told USA Today that Michael Mitchell, 32, was arrested by federal deputy marshals in Marksville, Louisiana and his nephew, Jacquerious Mitchell, 20, was arrested at a Dallas hospital. A third suspect, Thadeous Green, 22, was arrested the following day after a manhunt, according to CNN.
Assistant Chief Avery Moore of the DPD previously said during a press conference that Brown was shot dead during a drug deal that had gone wrong, CNN reported. Moore said a conversation between Brown and Green escalated into a physical altercation during the alleged drug deal, which led Brown to shoot Jacquerious Mitchell. Green shot Brown twice, took a backpack from him and the gun, according to the news station.
Merritt wrote in a statement on his Instagram on October 10 that the DPD and its involvement in the investigation is “corrupt.”
“They have no business being involved in this case. Their presence taints all the evidence by virtue of their interest in the outcome. They must bring in a disinterested third party agency if this investigation is to be relied upon. DPD’s insistence on leading this investigation is building in reasonable doubt for any suspects that is eventually prosecuted in this case,” Merritt previously wrote.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek<, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.