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“I forgive you. I want the best for you, and the best would be to give your life to Christ”, a 18-year-old said to the woman who killed his brother, after she was sentenced to 10 years.
Former Dallas (United States) police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced on Wednesday to serve 10 years in prison, for the killing of an innocent man she shot when she mistakenly entered his apartment believing it was her own.
Guyger testified in the trial that, after parking her car on the fourth floor, one level above her apartment, she noticed that the door of what she thought was her own unit, was ajar, so that she drew her service weapon.
When she opened the door and saw 26-year-old Botham Jean, an accountant from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, she shot to kill, fearing for her life after seeing the silhouette of a man she mistook for an intruder.
Prosecutors pointed to racially insensitive text messages Guyger had sent, and displayed to the jury posts that Guyger made on the social media platform Pinterest, including one which reads: “I wear all black to remind you not to mess with me, because I'm already dressed for your funeral".
Furthermore, they confirmed that she also made racist comments about fellow officers who are African-American.
She could have faced life in prison, but prosecutors asked for a prison sentence of 28 years, a higher penalty than what the jury imposed.
“I FORGIVE YOU, GIVE YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST”
A few minutes after the sentence was handed out, the victim’s brother, 18-year-old Brandt Jean, brother, stepped to the witness stand to deliver a victim-impact statement
“I love you as a person, and I don't wish anything bad on you. If you truly are sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you. And I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you”, he said.
“I was not going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but 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 you to do. And the best would be to give your life to Christ”.
He then asked permission from Judge Tammy Kemp to stand up and give Guyger a hug. The judge shocked the courtroom by agreeing, and the two embraced.
A BIBLE FROM THE JUDGE
Then, Judge Kemp comforted Jean's family, spoke briefly to Guyger and left the room.
She soon returned with a Bible, gave it to her, opened it to John 3:16, saying: “You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this”, and they embraced, WFAA-TV of Dallas reported.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz praised Brandt Jean for a demonstration of “Christian love”, while District Attorney John Creuzot called his address to Guyger an “amazing act of healing”.
The video of the statement was shown at the Dallas West Church of Christ, where the Jean family gathered to worship Wednesday night.