Prosecutors shared video of Botham Jean’s final breaths with jurors Tuesday, during the second day of former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger’s trial. Guyger stands accused of murdering Jean, her upstairs neighbor, when she entered his apartment last year and fatally shot him. Off-duty at the time, Guyger claimed she had mistaken his apartment for her own and thought the 26-year-old Saint Lucia native was a burglar.
The footage, taken from multiple body cameras, shows Dallas Police officers sprinting up the steps to the fourth floor of the housing complex to Jean’s apartment the night of Sept. 6, 2018. When they encounter Guyger, she appears frantic: “I thought it was my apartment,” she tells them repeatedly. Jean, bleeding out on the floor of his living room, still had a faint pulse, and cops on the scene took turns applying chest compressions to Jean for more than seven minutes in an attempt to resuscitate him.
Around the officers, and for several days after Jean’s death, the remnants of that night were still exactly as he left them: earbuds laying on the floor—perhaps worn at the time Guyger confronted him—his bowl of melted ice cream still sitting on the ottoman next to a copy of Gucci Mane’s autobiography, an ironing board and iron off to the side.
The footage was so graphic most of Jean’s family couldn’t bear to see it, leaving the courtroom before it started playing, the Dallas Morning News reports. Only Jean’s little brother, Brandt, caught the video, returning to the courtroom as the video showed, again, officers attempting to save his brother’s life.
Afterward, prosecutor Jason Hermus asked Officer Michael Lee, who was on the scene that night, to explain proper police protocol for a hypothetical burglary in progress:
“You have two choices,” Hermus said. “I want you to presume that you can safely ... reposition to a position of cover and concealment. You have that option. Or you can just shoot them dead and worry about that later. What do you do?”
“Cover and concealment,” Lee answered.
“Is that because of the sanctity of human life?” Hermus asked him.
“Yes, sir,” Lee said.
The jury also heard a tearful 911 call Guyger made shortly after fatally shooting Jean.
“I didn’t mean to. I’m so sorry,” Guyger tells the dispatcher. As the tape played, the former cop could be seen dabbing her face with tissue paper.
Guyger’s attorney has argued that the former cop was exhausted after finishing a 14-hour shift the night she killed Jean. On Tuesday, the defense argued that Jean’s door was slightly open when Guyger entered, leading her to believe that someone had broken into her apartment.
A brief recess had to be called during Tuesday’s testimonies when one of Botham Jean’s neighbors, Joshua Brown, broke down in tears during his testimony. Brown, who had met Jean for the first time earlier that day, said he came home that night and heard “two people meeting by surprise.”
From the Dallas Morning News:
He testified that he couldn’t make out what they were saying and they were speaking at the same time. The prosecution asked if Brown had heard loud commands like “Hey, put your hands up!” or “Show me your hands!”
He said he had not. The two other neighbors who took the stand said the same.
Prosecutors have argued that Guyger wasn’t exhausted as much as she was distracted, sharing sexually explicit texts she had exchanged with her former police partner, Officer Martin Rivera in the hours leading up to the shooting. Guyger also reached out to Rivera immediately after she shot Jean: “I need you. Hurry.” She followed up with another text reading, “I fucked up.”
Prosecutors say she was on the phone with 911 at the time the texts were sent.
NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reports that day three of the trial will feature testimony from Texas Ranger investigator David Armstrong, who will answer questions about the crime scene.