The Latest: Layout of Dallas complex often led to confusion

DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former Dallas police officer charged in the shooting death of her neighbor inside his apartment (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

A defense attorney for a former Dallas police officer accused of fatally shooting a man who she wrongly believed was in her own apartment says the identical look of the apartment complex from floor to floor often led to confusion among tenants.

Amber Guyger’s attorney, Robert Rogers, during opening statements of her murder trial Monday said dozens of people living at the complex reported regularly parking on the wrong floor or attempting to enter the wrong apartment.

Rogers says the floors of the parking garage were not clearly marked so it was understandable when Guyger, tired from a long shift, in September 2018 pushed open a door and believed an intruder was inside.

Authorities say Guyger shot Botham Jean as the 26-year-old Jean was inside his own apartment.

Guyger later was fired from the Dallas police force.


1:40 p.m.

A prosecutor has told jurors that former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was careless and distracted when she entered her neighbor’s apartment and fatally shot him.

Guyger’s trial began Monday for the September 2018 fatal shooting of Botham Jean, who went by the nickname “Bo.” The court didn’t release demographic details about the jurors, the vast majority of whom appeared to be women and people of color.

Dallas County assistant district attorney Jason Hermus called Jean “a wonderful, decent, kind man” and said that he was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream when Guyger entered his apartment.

Hermus told jurors that Guyger had worked a long day but that it was primarily office work. He suggested that Guyger became upset and distracted by a phone call with a colleague with whom she had been romantically involved. He said there is no evidence that Jean ever posed a threat to Guyger.

Guyger’s attorney will present an opening statement later Monday.


11:04 a.m.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the trial of a former Dallas police officer who shot and killed her neighbor spent Monday morning arguing over whether material from her cell phone could be admitted as evidence.

A prosecutor said Amber Guyger’s cellphone messages on the day that she shot and killed Botham Jean included sexually explicit exchanges with her partner from the Dallas Police Department. The prosecutor said Guyger’s partner would testify in the trial.

Prosecutors argue that the messages were relevant to showing Guyger’s mental state before and after the shooting, while the defense argued that the material was not relevant and could be prejudicial.

The judge is expected to rule on the issue before opening arguments begin later Monday.


12:05 a.m.

Opening statements are set to begin in the murder trial of a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in his Dallas apartment

Amber Guyger is expected in a Dallas court Monday morning, where she will stand trial for the killing of 26-year-old Botham Jean last year.

The case has attracted intense national scrutiny for its strange circumstances and as one in a chain of shootings of black men by white police officers. Guyger was fired after Jean’s death.

Lawyers for Guyger are likely to argue she fired in self-defense based on the mistaken belief that she was in her own apartment and Jean was a burglar.

A jury will decide whether 31-year-old Guyger committed murder, a lesser offense such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, or no crime at all.

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