The jury in the Botham Jean murder trial sentenced Amber Guyger on Wednesday to ten years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean. Deliberations took approximately 90 minutes before a unanimous sentencing was arrived at.
Convicted murderers are sentenced by a jury in Texas, and the crime carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison.
Judge Tammy Kemp allowed the jury to consider a potential verdict “under the immediate influence of sudden passion,” which would have reduced the range to two to 20 years, but the jury unanimously rejected the caveat.
In its closing statement, the prosecution asked jurors to consider a minimum of 28 years for Guyger. Jean would have turned 28 this coming Sunday. Attorneys also attempted to shed doubt on Guyger’s character by bringing up past texts and social media posts which showed racist and violent tendencies from the former Dallas police officer.
The defense maintained its tragic mistake argument throughout the sentencing proceedings, asking the female-majority jury to not compound the loss of Jean’s life with a life behind bars for Guyger.
Almost immediately after the sentencing, protests began outside the courtroom, as angry chants of “no justice, no peace” broke out, and supporters of the Jean family gave their reactions to reporters.
In a powerful moment during witness impact statements following the sentencing, Jean’s younger brother Brandt Jean forgave Guyger and embraced her in the courtroom.
WOW moment I’ve never seen in a murder trial. #BothamJean brother asks to hug #AmberGuyger after talking about God’s forgiveness. “Give your life to Christ,” he told her.
They embrace for a long time. pic.twitter.com/aeRiWkl8x7
— Cynthia Izaguirre (@wfaaizzy) October 2, 2019
Judge Tammy Kemp also took a moment to offer her condolences to Jean’s parents and family, and spoke directly to Guyger before giving her a Bible.