Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison a day after she was convicted of murder for shooting a black man, Botham Jean, after entering his apartment, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Guyger has claimed she mistook Jean’s apartment, upstairs from hers, for her own unit and shot Jean, who was sitting on the sofa eating ice cream, thinking he was a burglar. Prosecutors had asked the jury to sentence Guyger to at least 28 years, noting that Jean would have turned 28 last weekend. The maximum sentence is 99 years.
In a Wednesday sentencing hearing, Jean’s father, Bertrum, described the pain of losing his child, tearfully telling the jury he could no longer watch videos of his son singing, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“I’m still not ready for it,” he said. “It hurts me, that he’s not there.”
“How could we have lost Botham — such a sweet boy,” he continued. “He tried his best to live a good, honest life. He loved God. He loved everyone. How could this happen to him?”
After the sentencing, Jean’s brother Brandt told Guyger he forgave her, adding, “I personally want the best for you. I wasn’t going to say this in front of my family, I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want for you. Give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you.”
He then asked Judge Tammy Kemp for permission to hug Guyger, which she allowed.
BREAKING: In stunning moment, Botham Jean’s brother embraces Amber Guyger after her sentencing for his brother’s murder.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 2, 2019
Prosecutors also displayed social media posts joking about violence and racist text messages from Guyger during the sentencing hearing, which her attorney Toby Shook said represented only a “snapshot” of her life. Shook urged the jury not to view the case through the same lens as other high-profile police shootings.
“This event wasn’t planned,” Shook said, according to The Dallas Morning News. “This event is so unique, you’ll never see it again in the history of the United States.”
Alexis Stossel, a friend of Jean’s who met him when they attended a Christian university in Arkansas, also testified. “I have never lost someone this close in my life,” she said. “And the feeling is just unexplainable.”