Lawyers representing a former Texas police officer facing murder charges for September’s shooting death of her neighbor have requested a change of venue due to the media attention the case has received.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Amber Guyger’s attorneys cited “media hysteria” as the reason why they want the high-profile trial moved out of Dallas. The former Dallas police officer reportedly claimed she fatally shot Botham Jean, 26, in his apartment after mistaking his unit for hers.
“Publicity surrounding this case has been prejudicial and inflammatory,” her attorneys charged in Monday’s filing. “The hysteria and false narratives have been pervasive and widespread, which have added significantly to the existing false narratives and hysteria that pervades in Dallas County, making a fair trial here impossible.”
KTVT reported that the allegations came after audio of the 911 call Guyger, 30, placed after the fatal shooting was leaked. The Morning News claimed in October that the district attorney’s office rebuffed their requests for the September 6 call and Jean’s autopsy report.
Attorneys referred to 296 articles news articles in their motion. In it, they claimed some media outlets “began reverberating the false-narrative that merely because (Guyger) is white and Mr. Jean was black, the incident must have been racial in nature,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
They went on to accuse city officials, including Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, of unfairly commenting on the shooting.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the slain man’s family said they want the trial to remain in Dallas, telling KTVT that they believe the 911 audio was leaked to taint the jury pool.
Guyger reportedly told police she had finished a 15-hour shift when she parked her car on the fourth floor of her apartment building, instead of on the third floor where she lived.
The ex-officer allegedly claimed the door was slightly ajar when she placed the key with an electronic chip into the keyhole, causing the door to open further. Documents stated that she claimed she saw a “large silhouette” and gave it verbal commands before opening fire, wounding Jean in his torso. He ultimately died from his injuries.
The high-profile trial is scheduled to begin on September 23.
Ongoing coverage on the Botham Jean case can be read here.
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[Featured Image: Botham Jean/Facebook; Amber Guyger/Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office]