Amber Guyger, the ex-Dallas police officer charged with fatally shooting her 26-year-old neighbor Botham Jean in what she claims was a horrible mistake, said in a gut-wrenching testimony Friday that she wishes he had killed her instead.
“I feel like a terrible person. I feel like a piece of crap,” she told the courtroom through sobs. “I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life. And I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day. I feel like I don’t deserve a chance to be with my family and friends. And I wish he was the one with the gun who killed me.”
Guyger was arrested in September 2018 and charged with manslaughter after gunning down Botham Jean in his own apartment. However, she was later charged with murder.
In her testimony, Guyger said the tragedy occurred after she entered the wrong unit after the end of a work shift, believing Jean to be an intruder in her home. Moments before, she had been exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a co-worker on the force.
Guyger said she demanded to see Jean’s hands, then shot him in the chest as he approached her.
Prosecutors said he was eating ice cream and watching TV when she showed up that night.
The senseless killing of Jean, a Black man, by Guyger, a white woman, sparked national outrage over the American epidemic of excessive use of force by police.
However, Guyger claimed that her actions were not influenced by race.
“I was scared this person inside my apartment was going to hurt me,” she said, later adding, “This is not about hate, it’s about being scared that night.”
Though Guyger’s attorneys have argued she was simply caught up in a terrible accident, prosecutors are pointing to the case as an example of negligence, and a police officer who recklessly rushed for her weapon.
The trial is set to resume Monday, one day after what would have been Jean’s 28th birthday.