Dallas, TX – The first week former of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended abruptly on Saturday morning when the judge cancelled a planned full day of testimony in defense of the officer who fatally shot a neighbor she mistakenly believed was in her apartment.
On Thursday, prosecutors rested their case and on Friday morning, the 31-year-old former Dallas police officer was the first person her attorneys called to the stand in her own defense, WFAA reported.
“I feel like a piece of crap,” Guyger told the jury. “I hate that I have to live with this every single day, and I ask God for forgiveness and hate myself every single day.”
The 911 call that Guyger made to police after she shot 27-year-old Botham Jean was played in the courtroom.
"I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment," she repeated countless times to the 911 operator. "I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to. I’m so sorry.”
"I shot an innocent man who didn't deserve it,” Guyger told the operator.
The former police officer sobbed in the courtroom as the recording of the 911 call was played, WFAA reported.
“I wish he was the one with the gun and had killed me,” Guyger testified. “I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. And I am so sorry.”
Prosecutors who cross-examined Guyger accused her of failing to render aid to the man he had shot because she was more worried about herself than her victim, WFAA reported.
Earlier in the week, evidence was presented that showed then-Officer Guyger had texted her police partner boyfriend after she called 911.
Jason Hermus, a prosecutor, grilled the former police officer about why she had failed to stay inside the apartment and perform CPR on the man she had just shot.
“I wanted somebody there fast to give him help," Guyger explained.
She said she went out into the hallway to confirm the address and summon help, WFAA reported.
"You knew how to do CPR properly?" Hermus asked.
"I've never done it on a person," Guyger replied.
Hermus confirmed that she had been trained by the police department to properly perform CPR, WFAA reported.
"Did you properly perform CPR on Mr. Jean?" Hermus asked.
"No, I did not," Guyger replied.
"But you could have, right?" the prosecutor asked.
"I tried to do a little CPR," she said.
“Why would you try to do 'a little CPR' on a man who is dying and needs your full attention?" Hermus hammered back.
The prosecutor also wanted to know why Guyger hadn’t used any of the medical supplies she had in her backpack, WFAA reported.
"Is there a reason why you didn't use this stuff right here, which is designed to control traumatic bleeding?" Hermus asked and pulled out the contents of the first aid kit to show the jury.
"It never crossed my mind," she admitted.
Guyger admitted on cross-examination that she had intended to kill Jean when she shot him because she had perceived him as a threat, WFAA reported.
On Saturday morning, the lead investigator on the case, Texas Ranger David Armstrong, testified about how stress can affect the senses when an officer confronts a suspect, The Dallas Morning News reported.
"Some of the physical sensations ... would be auditory exclusion, which basically means that you may not hear at the normal volume that you normally would because you’re under stress," Ranger Armstrong told the jury.
He also said a person in that situation might experience an elevated heart rate, tunnel vision, and short-term memory loss, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Retired Dallas Police Deputy Chief Craig Miller was also scheduled to testify as an expert witness on Saturday but the judge ruled that the retired law enforcement officer could not tell jurors his opinion that Guyger’s reactions had been “reasonable” when she opened fire on Jean.
Ranger Armstrong opined the same thing in court when he was called as a witness earlier in the week but that also was not in front of the jury, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Several other residents of the Southside Flats apartment building were called to the stand on Friday and testified that on multiple occasions, they had also parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage and gone to the wrong door on the wrong floor in search of their own apartments as Guyger testified that she had done on the night she killed her upstairs neighbor.
Officer Guyger was initially arrested on a manslaughter charge on Sept. 9, three days after she fatally shot Jean in his apartment.
A grand jury later indicted her for murder. A murder conviction could put Guyger behind bars for life, whereas manslaughter would have carried a maximum penalty of 20 years, the Dallas Morning News reported.
After having worked 14 hours serving warrants in high crime areas of the city, the exhausted officer parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage adjacent to her apartment building, WCAU reported.
The arrest affidavit said the garage levels correspond with the floors in the apartment complex. Officer Guyger lives on the 3rd Floor of the Southside Flats apartment complex, and should have parked on the 3rd floor where her apartment was.
But the off-duty officer parked on the 4th floor of the parking garage and proceeded into the building, where she went to the door of the apartment she believed to be her own and used her key.
The door wasn’t fully shut and opened right away.
The sound of the door opening alerted Jean, who was home alone in his apartment watching football.
The affidavit said Jean went to see what was going on at his front door.
Officer Guyger told investigators she saw the silhouette of someone in what she believed to be her own apartment, and drew her firearm, WCAU reported. The affidavit said she believed she was being robbed.
She gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean, according to the affidavit. Then she fired her weapon in the dark at the person twice, striking him once.
The arrest affidavit said it wasn’t until Officer Guyger was already on the phone with 911, that she reached to turn on the lights and she realized she was not in her own apartment.
She went into the hall and checked the address on the door and confirmed for the dispatchers that she was in unit 1478, one floor above her own apartment, WCAU reported.
Jean was transported to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he later died.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall announced that Guyger had been fired from the police force on Sept. 24, but not for the shooting.