Prosecutor: Amber Guyger Wasn't Tired Because She 'Sexted' Hours Before Shooting
Dallas, TX – Prosecutors said during the first day of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger's trial that the officer wasn't tired because she sent sexual text messages to another officer.
Defense attorneys have claimed that then-Officer Guyger was exhausted when she got home after 10 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2018 and it was the sleep deprivation that led her to mistake 26-year-old Botham Jean’s 4th floor apartment for her own apartment exactly one floor below.
But prosecutors said Monday that she was alert because she was actively texting with Dallas Police Officer Martin Rivera before she made the fatal mistake, KDFW reported.
“Super horny today too,” Officer Guyger had texted to Rivera earlier in the evening.
“Me too,” Officer Rivera replied.
Later that night, prosecutors said she sent him a sexually suggestive Snapchat with the message “Wanna touch?”
Prosecutors said that cell phone records showed Officer Guyger had been on the phone with Officer Rivera as she drove into the parking garage and parked on the wrong floor, and said they had plans to meet up later that night, NBC News reported.
"In the last 10 minutes of Bo's life, Amber Guyger made a series of unreasonable errors and unreasonable decisions and unreasonable choices," Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus told the jury.
Prosecutors said that Officer Guyger should have noticed the red doormat in front of Jean’s apartment and realized that wasn’t where she lived, KDFW reported.
But defense attorneys said that prosecutors’ assertions were wrong and Officer Guyger was not distracted or planning to meet up with Officer Rivera later that night, NBC News reported.
Attorney Robert Rogers told the jury that Officer Guyger was functioning on autopilot after a long day at work as she parked and walked to her apartment.
"What was going through Amber's mind was that, 'I'm done with my day's work. I'm going home,'" Rogers said.
He told the jury that there are no obvious floor number markings in the parking garage on the way into the apartment building where Officer Guyger had lived for only two months, NBC News reported.
Rogers said a survey of other residents of the building determined that at least 90 percent of them had parked on the wrong floor and gone to the wrong apartment at least once.
He also said that the door plate was installed incorrectly and Jean’s door didn’t always shut completely, which was how Officer Guyger got into his apartment the night she mistakenly shot him, NBC News reported.
Defense attorneys told the jury that there was no criminal intent behind the error Officer Guyger made that night and said it was just a tragic mistake.
“She's trying to process this as she's stepping into her apartment and at the same time, I'm sure Mr. Jean is thinking, ‘What is this person doing? Who is coming into my apartment?’” Rogers told the jury. “So he's confused. He's wondering what's going on. She's thinking what is going on? Why is this man in my apartment and she looks up and he's standing up. He's about 30 feet away from her. And I'm sure he's alarmed.”
“But she's thinking. ‘Oh, my God. There's an intruder in my apartment’ and she's face-to-face with him,” the defense attorney continued. “She's within 10 yards of him and he starts approaching her. And she reacts like any police officer would, who has a gun with confronting a burglary suspect.”
The defense is making a so-called “mistake of fact” defense that will hinge on them convincing the jury that Officer Guyger’s error was reasonable when she believed she was defending herself by shooting an intruder in her own apartment, NBC News reported.
Prosecutors said that Officer Guyger texted Officer Rivera after she shot Jean and told him she needed him, KDFW reported
Hermus put Officer Rivera on the stand the first day of trial and asked him if Officer Guyger should have been texting in those first moments after the shooting.
Officer Guyger’s partner told the jury she should not have been texting.
Prosecutors said that after the shooting, Officer Guyger should have been taking lifesaving measures to save the man she had shot instead of texting her lover, KDFW reported.
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 30-year-old 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.
“An Internal Affairs investigation concluded that on September 9, 2018, Officer Guyger, # 10702, engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter,” the chief’s statement read.
That statement appears to refer to some action taken by then-Officer Guyger on the day of her arrest but the Dallas police have not revealed what that action was.