Dallas judge delays decision on moving trial of ex-cop who shot Botham Jean

A Black judge is holding off on her decision to move the murder trial of former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger out of Dallas until after jurors are questioned. 

Guyger, a white woman, is accused of walking into Botham Jean’s apartment, shooting and killing him after she says she mistook the home of the PwC associate as her own on Sept. 24, 2018. 

Attorneys for Guyger cited nearly 300 news articles in a motion last month to have the trial moved due to “media hysteria” expected to prejudice the jury. 

State District Judge Tammy Kemp, of the 204th Judicial District Court in Dallas, wrote Monday in a motion CBS DFW obtained that “no determination” will be made on moving the trial until the jury selection process is completed or “it becomes apparent” that “a fair and impartial jury cannot be selected in Dallas County due to the pervasive publicity in this case.”

Judge Tammy Kemp
Judge Tammy Kemp posed for a photo posted online Sept. 14, 2017, as part of her election campaign. (Photo: Judge Tammy Kemp campaign’s Facebook page) 

The defense team asked the trial be moved to Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Kaufman or Rockwall counties, while prosecutors argued a fair trial can happen in Dallas County. 

Guyger would be more likely to face a whiter and more conservative jury if her trial is moved, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Robert Rogers, Guyger’s attorney, has said his client thought Jean, a Black man, was an intruder.

“I believe it was reasonable for her to believe that she was being threatened with an intruder in her home and therefore she acted in self-defense,” Rogers said told The New York Times last year. “The law justifies her actions.”

Jury selection is slated to start Sept. 6, exactly one year after the shooting, and the trial is set to start Sept. 23, according to the district clerk’s office.