Black Accountant Shot by Off-Duty Cop Sparked Cry for Police Reform in Dallas

A photo of slain accountant Botham Jean

ABC A photo of slain accountant Botham Jean

Botham Jean was a 26-year-old accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Dallas, Texas, area. On September 6, 2018, an off-duty police officer named Amber Guyger entered his apartment and shot him. Ahead of the season two premiere of Impact of Murder on Investigation Discovery, which examines the case and its aftermath, here’s what you need to know about Jean’s death and the aftermath.

Jean Died From a Gunshot To the Torso

According to the Dallas Morning News, Guyger claimed to have mistaken Jean’s apartment for her own within the complex, entered and, upon seeing him inside, thought she had happened upon a burglary and fired two shots with her service weapon.

But evidence showed that Jean had been sitting on the couch eating a bowl of ice cream. When Guyger entered, he stood up and sustained a gunshot to the torso, from which he later died at the Baylor University Medical Center.

Guyger was tested for drugs and alcohol at the time of the shooting, but it was later revealed that those tests came back negative.

Jean’s Death Sparked Protests

Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter, which sparked protests and demonstrations in the Dallas area about the use of force by police and racial bias within the justice system.

“We are pushing for a police oversight board with investigative powers and a budget,” said Next General Action Network president and founder Dominique Alexander, according to the Dallas Observer.

When a grand jury was impaneled on the case, they upped the charge from manslaughter to murder. At trial, Guyger was found guilty of murder by the jury and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

At the sentencing, Jean’s brother Brandt read a victim impact statement in which he forgave Guyger and asked if he could hug her.

“If you truly are sorry — I know I can speak for myself — I forgive you, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you,” said Brandt, according to NBC News. “I personally want the best for you. I wasn’t even going to say this before my family, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do — to give your life to Christ.”

Botham’s father Bertrum Jean also said he forgave Guyger, telling CNN, “That’s what Christ would want us to do. If you will not forgive, neither will your Father forgive you. I don’t want to see her rot in hell. I don’t want to see her rot in prison. I hope this will help her to change and recognize the damage, the hurt that our family’s going through. So I wish her well and I will pray for her family and pray for her as well.”

But he added, “I felt the sentence may not have been sufficient based on the crime. I think it could’ve been a little more. But the jury has spoken.”

“This was an extraordinary moment from an extraordinary family,” said Jean family attorney Benjamin Crump. “They are a very godly family and what Mr Bertrum and Brandt were talking about was her internal grace, even though Alison, the mother, has expressed that there must be worldly consequences.”

Impact of Murder airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Investigation Discovery.

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