On October 2, 2019, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was unanimously sentenced to 10 years in prison for a murder charge.
On September 6, 2018, Guyger was responsible for killing the 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean in his own apartment. After coming back from a long shift, Guyger accidentally entered Jean’s apartment on the fourth floor, which was a floor above her apartment. As she found the door unlocked and proceeded to enter, she spotted Jean eating a bowl of ice cream. She mistook him for an intruder and shot him.
Fast forward to the trial. The defense tried to turn to the “Castle Doctrine” to avoid prosecution. Castle Doctrine allows individuals to use lethal force in their legal places of residency. Texas is a state that is well-known for its Second Amendment protections, which includes the right to use Castle Doctrine in cases of self-defense in one’s home. But because Guyger ended up in Jean’s house, Castle Doctrine protections no longer had validity.
Thankfully, this defense was rejected by the jury. Had the Castle Doctrine been upheld in this case, it could have established a chilling precedent of allowing law enforcement officers to “accidentally” enter people’s houses and use Castle Doctrine as a pretext to use force. This would enhance law enforcement powers tremendously.
The jury correctly ruled that the property owner or resident is undoubtedly king of their castle and are the only ones that exercise the Castle Doctrine. Additionally, no form of petty racial tension was invoked after the verdict was made. Jean’s brother, Brandt Jean, ended up hugging Guyger and forgave her for her negligent homicide.
Justice has been served and now both parties can find peaceful ways to make things right.