An appeals court upheld the murder conviction of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who fatally shot Botham Jean in his own apartment on Sept. 6, 2018.
Since a jury convicted Guyger of the murder in 2019, she has argued that her mistaken belief that she was in her own apartment negates her culpability of murder, according to The Detroit News.
Guyger asked the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas to overturn her murder conviction, and instate a conviction of criminally negligent homicide.
Jurors sentenced Guyger to 10 years in prison for the murder, a punishment in which she is currently serving. According to prison records, she is eligible for parole in 2024.
Guyger told investigators that she shot Jean, 26, an accountant and church singer who lived in the apartment directly beneath hers, after seeing him in what she believed was her own apartment at the time. She reportedly believed that Jean was a burglar and fired twice, striking him in the chest.
According to WHIO News, Jean had been eating ice cream on his couch when Guyger arrived at his apartment. She was still wearing her police uniform at the time of the murder.
Judges Lana Myers, Robbie Partida-Kipness and Chief Justice Robert D. Burns III disagreed with Guyger’s belief that deadly force was reasonable, reported WHIO News. They also said they did not believe the evidence supported a conviction of criminally negligent homicide.
“That she was mistaken as to Jean’s status as a resident in his own apartment or a burglar in hers does not change her mental state from intentional or knowing to criminally negligent,” the judges wrote in a statement. “We decline to rely on Guyger’s misperception of the circumstances leading to her mistaken beliefs as a basis to reform the jury’s verdict in light of the direct evidence of her intent to kill.”
According to NBC News, defense attorneys for Guyger could still ask the Texas Court of Appeals, the state’s highest forum of criminal cases, to review the appeals court’s ruling.