The retired judge who recently won Dallas County District Attorney seat has zeroed in on the Botham Jean case, saying the off-duty officer accused of shooting the unarmed man in his own apartment should be tried for murder, not manslaughter.
Democratic contender John Creuzot told KXAS that he plans to retrain District Attorney office staff as part of his “real justice reform,” a platform he campaigned on. Creuzot also expressed interest in Jean’s case, as he’s expected to assume Faith Johnson’s role when he’s sworn in on January 1.
“I don’t know any police reports. I don’t know any forensic reports, but based on what I have seen, manslaughter is an inappropriate charge, based on the circumstances as I understand them,” Creuzot told the news station.
“Once I get in there and I get everything in front of me and it appears the most appropriate charge is murder, then that’s the charge we will go forward with.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Amber Guyger, 30, told police she had finished a 15-hour shift when she parked her car on the fourth floor of her apartment building instead of the third floor where she lived. She reportedly said the door was slightly ajar when she placed the key with an electronic chip into the keyhole, causing the door to open further.
Documents indicated that Guyger, who is white, claimed she saw a “large silhouette” and gave verbal commands before opening fire, wounding Jean in his torso. The 26-year-old later died from his injuries.
Guyger has since been fired from her job and charged with manslaughter.
Johnson has been widely criticized for her handling of the September 6 shooting. Early last month, The Dallas Morning News requested autopsy findings and 911 audio relevant to the case—only to learn that the Dallas Police Department and Dallas County District Attorney’s Office allegedly asked the state Attorney General to withhold the information.
At the time, First Assistant District Attorney Mike Snipes, who works under Johnson, reportedly claimed they were keeping that information private to curb some of the pre-trial publicity the high-profile case was getting.
While Johnson successfully prosecuted Bach Springs police officer Roy Oliver for the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Jordan Edwards, councilman Philip Kingston accused Johnson of sabotaging Jean’s case. Kingston told KTVT that, like the Morning News, his office was denied access to radio calls, possible body cam videos, and Guyger’s personnel records.
Despite this, the unseated prosecutor said she intends to personally try the Jean case.
“We are still proceeding with that case. And by the way, that case is going to the grand jury very soon,” Johnson recently told KDFW. “I want the opportunity to bring the indictment. It happened under my watch, and I think that’s very significant that I take this case to the grand jury.”
[Featured Image: Botham Jean/Facebook; Amber Guyger/Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office]