Jury convicts ex-police officer of murder for shooting of man in his own home

Jury convicts ex-police officer of murder for shooting of man in his own home
© Kaufman County Sheriff's Office/Screenshot

A jury has convicted a former Dallas police officer who shot and killed a neighbor in his own home after she said she mistook the apartment for her own. 

Race was a factor in the case, as the officer, Amber Guyger, 31, is white and the victim, 26-year-old Botham Jean, was black.

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The Dallas Morning News reported that cheers could be heard from the hallway outside the courtroom after the guilty verdict was announced. 

Guyger claimed that she had thought she had entered her own apartment when she shot Jean, arguing that she mistook him for a burglar and shot him in self-defense.

Prosecutors argued that Guyger should have known she was in the wrong apartment, and that Jean, who was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream when he was killed, was not a threat.

The trial began Sept. 23, stretching for six days, and the jury deliberated for about five hours starting Monday before announcing the verdict.

Guyger reportedly remained still until the jury left and then sunk in her chair, according to the Texas newspaper.

Now, jurors will determine Guyger's sentencing, which The New York Times reported could range from five to 99 years.

The sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon, according to the Dallas Morning News.